Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Study Shows Autism Rate is 1 in 50

According to a new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is occurring at a rate even higher than previously believed.  Health officials say the new statistic of 1 in 50 doesn't mean autism is occurring more often, but it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder difficulties.

This new study asked over 95,000 parents for input during 2011 and 2012, and looked at children's behaviors.  It did not use medical records as the previous study reporting the statistic of 1 in 88 children.  That study had limitations as well, since the data was from 2008 and only reported on eight year old children.  Updated figures for this study are expected next year.

We've been underestimating" how common autism is, said Michael Rosanoff of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. He believes the figure is at least 1 in 50.  

Some children with milder cases may not have been diagnosed previously, but as school becomes more demanding and social situations grow more complex, the children's disability is becoming more obvious, said Dr. Roula Choueiri, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.