Thursday, 16 August, 2018

CDC: More US Kids Have Autism - But Experts Don't Exactly Know Why

CDC: Autism incidence increases to 1 in 59 children Autism at elevated rates in Twin Cities kids
Johnnie Parks | 27 April, 2018, 11:09

Perhaps, rather than more kids having autism, just more of them are being diagnosed with it. Communities are doing a better job of diagnosing autism among minority populations, said Alison Singer, president and co-founder of the Autism Science Foundation, who was not involved in the new report. Overall, the study showed the prevalence of autism in these areas among eight-year-olds rose from 6.7 cases per 1,000 children in 2000 to 16.8 in 2014, an increase of almost 150 percent.

The rate of autism in the communities ranged from 1.31 percent in an Arkansas community to 2.93 percent in a community in New Jersey.

New Jersey has significantly more children diagnosed with autism than other states - and rates are still on the rise.

"The higher number of black and Hispanic children now being identified with autism could be due to more effective outreach in minority communities and increased efforts to have all children screened for autism so they can get the services they need", Stuart Shapira, of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a statement.

Of these children, source records of 10,886 children met the criteria for abstraction, and 5,743 children met the autism spectrum disorder "surveillance case definition", the authors noted.

The data comes from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

This latest survey is based on data collected in 2014 that estimated the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases among more than 300,000 children from 11 states across the nation, states CNN. It is one of three autism estimates by the CDC but is considered the most rigorous.

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The prevalence was found to be 15 percent higher than what was reported a year ago, up from 1.5 percent in 2012 to 1.7 percent in 2014.

Estimates of autism varied widely among the 11 communities in this report, although five reported similar estimates of 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent.

'Healthcare providers can acknowledge and help parents act on those concerns. Originally designed in the late 1990s when autism was a less-known diagnosis, the agency's approach may now be overcounting kids with ASD by relying on school and health records instead of in-person evaluations, said David Mandell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Especially considering that fewer than half of the children in the report were diagnosed before the age of four, despite the possibility to diagnose the condition as early as the age of two.

Autism begins in early childhood and can cause social, behavioral, and communication difficulties.

About 85 percent of those with autism had concerns about the need for developmental evaluation by 3, but only 42 percent received a developmental evaluation by then. "So it's actually encouraging to see those numbers become closer to the prevalence among white children, because we think this indicates these kids are being evaluated and diagnosed, and that may allow them to receive services". In 2014, these states comprised eight percent of all USA 8-year-olds, revealed the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Act Early program provides parents, childcare professionals, and healthcare providers free resources, in English and Spanish, for monitoring children's development.

The information released Thursday was based on data of children who were age 8 in 2014. Last year, the CDC also produced the Milestone Tracker mobile app "for smartphones and tablets that parents can use to monitor their child's development in fun and interactive ways".

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