New CDC Report Says As Many as 1-in-50 Children in Nation May Have An Autism Spectrum Disorder

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AutismAccording to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the number of young people in the United States with an autism disorder may be higher than previously assumed. New data indicates that as many as 1-in-50 children in the nation has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD); a CDC report last year estimated the total number to be just 1-in-88 children.

The new report compares 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) findings with data from 2007. The latest findings suggest that an estimated 2 percent of the nation’s children, ages 6-to-17, may have an autism spectrum disorder; in 2007, the NSCH estimated that the total number of children, adolescents and teens in the country with ASDs to represent only 1.16 percent of the nation’s entire youth population.

For both males and females, an increase in the percentage of young people with autism spectrum disorders was noted. From 2007 to 2012, the percentage of girls with parent-reported autism spectrum disorders rose from 0.49 percent to 0.71 percent of the total youth population. The number of boys with parent-reported ASDs, however, nearly doubled in the timeframe; while 2007 data suggested that 1.8 percent of all boys in the nation had an autism spectrum disorder, the latest CDC data suggests that as many as 3.23 percent of the nation’s child, adolescent and teenage males may have a form of autism.

“The increases in ASD prevalence reported here extend an ongoing trend observed in the United States and other developed countries over the past several decades,” the report concludes. “Increases in the prevalence of parent-reported ASD continued through 2011–2012, and much of the recent increase — especially for children aged 6-to-13 — was the result of diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized ASD.”