Friday, December 18, 2009

New Autism Numbers

The debate continues on whether more kids are getting autism or people are just becoming more aware of the symptoms and getting their kids diagnosed. For several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said autism impacts 1 in every 150 kids. But the number of kids diagnosed is growing so fast.. that number is now 1 in 110. In a way this is good news. I think most people who are involved in the autism community knew the numbers were higher than reported and this confirmation will give them more of an edge when it comes to funding. Typically, the more people who have a disorder, the more people who fight for those kids to have equal rights and protection.

FROM NBC: This study is from the CDC, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and several other sites. It's being published today in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. - Dr. Catherine Rice of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (CDC) is the lead author. Government health officials are reporting an increase in the prevalence of autism.

The CDC now estimates an average of 1 in 110 children has some form of autism spectrum disorder.
The CDC calls the new data a "significant public health concern." Researchers there reviewed medical and school records of 8-year-olds -- because most cases of autism are diagnosed by then. Between 2002 and 2006, the prevalence of autism increased from 1 in 150 children... to 1 in 110.

Lee Grossman - President, Autism Society "When you see such a dramatic increase -- 57% in a four year period -- that shows... I'm trying to conceive of how many kids we've missed during that four-year period."

There was a striking difference in rates between boys and girls. Experts estimate 1 in 315 girls has some form of autism. But for boys -- that number jumps to 1 in 70.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer - UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital "This study does not tell us the why, it just tells us what's going on and it identifies a public health issue."

In many cases, someone -- usually a mom or dad -- raised concerns about a child's development by age 2. Some of the red flags: Dr. Max Wiznitzer - UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital "Any child who loses skills, loses language or social skills, a child who's not making good eye contact." But the majority of cases weren't diagnosed by a doctor until around age 4 -- meaning: Lee Grossman - President, Autism Society "They've missed the benefits of early intervention."

No one has been able to pinpoint any one reason for the increase. they say it could be due to better detection and screening, or that cases could truly be rising.
These findings are in line with another study released in October that was based on telephone surveys of parents.

This study was based on a review of records. Researchers had a team of clinicians go through the symptoms to confirm a doctor's diagnosis. -
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pediatricians to screen all children for autism between 18 and 24 months. Autism spectrum disorder includes a wide variety of symptoms - but mainly affects communication and social skills.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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