One in 68 U.S. children has autism, a 30 percent rise over the last estimate released in 2012, health authorities said Thursday.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised concern and sparked calls for early screening, as well as more research and investment.
Autism is a developmental disorder that has no known cause or cure. It affects people of all races with a range of difficulties in social, emotional and communication skills.
Recent research suggests the disorder may originate in the womb, and could be linked to defects that arise during prenatal brain growth.
The “proportion of children with autism and higher IQ (is) on the rise,” the CDC said in a statement.
Previously, as many as one in 88 US children were known to have autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
The findings were based on diagnoses of eight-year-olds at 11 U.S. sites in 2010.
The prevalence of autism varied widely, from one in 175 children in Alabama to one in 45 children in New Jersey.
The data continued to show that autism is five times more common in boys than in girls. In the United States, one in 42 boys is diagnosed with autism, compared to one in 189 girls.
– Reasons unclear –
The reasons for the rise were unclear, but the CDC said the criteria used to diagnose autism spectrum disorder and the methods used to collect data have not changed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement that said the CDC report shows the “urgent need” for better screening and intervention strategies.
“It’s critical that we as a society do not become numb to these numbers,” said Susan Hyman, chair of the AAP autism subcommittee.
“They remind us of the work we need to do in educating clinicians and parents in effective interventions for all children, including those with developmental disabilities.”
The CDC report also found that most children were diagnosed after age four, although the disorder can be identified by age two.
Symptoms of developmental delays at age one could include not saying “mama” or “dada,” not crawling, or not being able to point or wave, the CDC said on its website.
By age two, signs could include not following instructions, being unable to say two-word phrases like “drink milk,” not knowing what to do with common objects like a fork and spoon, or losing skills the child once had.
“Community leaders, health professionals, educators and childcare providers should use these data to ensure children with ASD are identified as early as possible and connected to the services they need,” said Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the House Global Health Subcommittee and co-chairman of the bipartisan Coalition on Autism Research and Education, called the CDC report “deeply disturbing” and an “ominous trend.”
“The bottom line: more children, more families are struggling with autism and the federal government must do more to help.”
[Image: “A boy with autism clapping his hands,” via Shutterstock]
Trump is facing massive criticism for his attacks on young women of color in Congress
US President Donald Trump came under fire from Democrats and even some members of his own Republican Party on Monday after launching an extraordinary xenophobic attack on four progressive Democratic congresswomen.
"All they do is complain," Trump told reporters at a White House event featuring products "Made in America."
"These are people that hate our country," he said of the four lawmakers. "If you're not happy here, you can leave."
Trump also accused the four first-term congresswomen -- who are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African American origin -- of having "love" for US "enemies like Al-Qaeda."
Trump’s campaign is spending massively at his own businesses — and even more on lawyers
President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign filed their latest campaign finance reports on Monday.
Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the money in politics watchdog group Open Secrets, dissected the numbers and made two startling discoveries.
In the three months covered, from April through June, Trump's campaign and affiliated joint fundraising committees spent $326,094.24 at Trump businesses, including six figures at both Mar-a-Lago and Trump Hotel DC.
Trump's campaign also spent over $1.3 million on legal bills. He spent approximately $7 million on legal bills in 2018, Massoglia noted.
Trump is ‘one pointy white hat shy of a Klan rally’: GOP strategist Rick Wilson ripped Trump as a ‘flagrant racist’ on MSNBC
Republican strategy ripped President Donald Trump for being a "flagrant racist" during a Monday night appearance on MSNBC.
Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Wilson about Trump's latest nativist attacks on young women of color in Congress.
"Rick Wilson, is this a campaign strategy? Is this Donald Trump and his campaign advisers thinking, well, our only hope is going for the voters we already have and energizing them and getting them to come and squeak out that electoral formula once again?" O'Donnell asked.
"Absolutely, Lawrence. As everyone else stated on the show, it’s been obvious for a long time from the long arc of his dad to redling to the Central Park Five to birtherism to this stuff today, this guy, he's racist adjacent in of the best day of his life," Wilson is explained.