Record-Breaking Autism Rates Reported with New CDC Criteria

Record-Breaking Autism Rates Reported with New CDC Criteria

The increase likely reflects improvements in diagnosis and identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), not an increase in the number of children actually having autism, study authors with the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network say. Using a new surveillance method, researchers found that 2.3% of 8 year olds in communities in 11 states were diagnosed with autism in 2018, up from 1.9% in 2016. A separate report on early identification in 4-year-olds shows that children born in 2014 were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with autism or be given an ASD special education classification by 4 years of age than those born in 2010, which shows improvement in early diagnosis. Taken together, the data suggests efforts to raise awareness about autism are working, though researchers were quick to say much work remains. “It means we’re doing a better job of identifying children, which helps to get them into services earlier so they can achieve their best developmental outcome,” says Stuart Shapira, MD, PhD, associate director for science in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disability. The studies, published online Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , are the first to use a […]

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