1 In 45 Children In The U.S. Has Autism, According To New Estimate

By: Cari Nierenberg
Published: 11/13/2015 01:37 AM EST on LiveScience

About 1 in 45 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, according to a new government estimate of the condition’s prevalence in 2014.

This new report is based on data collected during the yearly National Health Interview Survey, from interviews of parents about their children, and is the first report of the prevalence of autism in the U.S. to include data from the years 2011 to 2014, according to the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although the new estimate looks like a significant increase from the CDC’s previous estimate — which put the autism spectrum disorder rate at 1 in 68 children — the previous estimate was made using data from a different CDC survey, called the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which gathers information from children’s medical records. This 1-in-68 estimate was reported in 2014, but was based on data collected during 2010.

None of the interview surveys and monitoring methods that report increasing prevalence rates of autism in the U.S. looked at why these numbers seem to be rising. But one reason could be that awareness of the condition has increased among both parents and health care providers, which has likely led to more children with the condition being identified, said Robert Fitzgerald, an epidemiologist in psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research.

For example, in the past, some kids now considered to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have been labeled as having an “intellectual disability,” he said. There have also been recent changes in the diagnostic criteria and symptoms used to describe ASD. [Beyond Vaccines: 5 Things That Might Really Cause Autism]

Another reason is that the —> Read More