CDC Reports Increase in U.S. Autism Cases

The report found that 1 in 45 children in the U.S. have autism.

The rate of children with autism in the U.S. increased dramatically in 2014, according to a Center for Disease Control report.

The report, released Nov. 13, found that 1 in 45 American children ages 3 to 17 have autism, a steep hike from the averages in the previous three years, according to the Washington Post.

Between 2011 and 2013, the CDC reported the autism rate in children to be 1 in 80, meaning 2014’s figure represents an 80 percent jump. The authors of the reports said the jump may be related to a change in the annual questionnaire.

Researchers changed the questionnaire to better-align results with other leading public health sources. The change means that parents who had previously reported a developmental disability in their children may have reported that there child was autistic in the 2014 questionnaire. The report’s drop in other developmental disabilities supports this theory.

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Still, the prevalence of autism has strained school systems across the country that try to accommodate the special needs of children on the autism spectrum. Research has shown that the earlier children on the spectrum have access to specialized care, treatment and services the more likely they are to progress.

“It’s not the year to year numbers that concern us. It’s the decade to decade,” Jill Escher, president of the Autism Society of San Francisco, said. “The fact that we have 1 in 45 children with a very serious neurological condition is a catastrophe by any measure.”

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