1 in 45 Children with Autism

1in45According to a new government estimate, about 1 in 45 children in the U.S. has autism. The estimate, which comes from researchers at the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), is based on data collected during a yearly 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 years 2011 to 2014.

While this looks like a substantial increase from the CDC’s last estimate, which was 1 in 68 children and just announced over the summer, the previous estimate was determined from a different survey that gathers information from children’s medical records and it was based on data collected during 2010.

The reason for this increase may not necessarily be that there are more children with autism than there have been in previous years—meaning, there’s likely no factors such as environmental conditions, etc. that can be causing the increase. Instead, the rate increases could be attributed to growing awareness of autism and more children being more appropriately diagnosed on the spectrum versus other conditions. The way in which data was collected and the questions that were asked of parents have also been restructured a bit, which may have also impacted the data collected. (read more about that here).

And while the 1 in 68 rate will still be treated as the best estimate, the newly reported number can be an indicator that the 1 in 68 is an underestimate.

Lynsey, Community Manager

Autism Rate Rises to 1 in 68

1in68The CDC now reports that the number of U.S. children with autism has soared to 1 in 68 – this is a 30% increase since it had estimated that 1 in 88 children have the disorder only two years ago.

To get this estimate, they looked at records in 2010 for 8-year-olds in 11 states. Through their research they also saw an increase in the number of children with higher IQs who fall on the autism spectrum – and a wide range of results depending on where they live (for example, only 1 in 175 was diagnosed with autism in Alabama, while 1 in 45 was diagnosed in New Jersey).

Why the big jump? No one can say for sure, but it could be due the growing awareness of autism and better identification of it in children.

And, also eye-opening, as noted in this NPR article, a 2011 study found that in South Korea, 1 in 38 children met the criteria for autism – and the U.S. is now on pace to reach the same conclusion within a few years.

Lynsey, Community Manager

In case you haven’t heard, April is Autism Awareness Month!

It’s Autism Awareness Month – time to learn more statistics, read about the advances in treatment, Keep Calm and turn your Facebook page blue!

So if the world is listening just a little bit more than usual, it’s also an opportunity for parents to tell their stories – because for them, autism is a 24/7/365 experience.

Meet a dear friend of mine, Marci, pictured with her son Ethan.  Ethan’s story is similar to many – he’s “on the spectrum,” and his quirky behavior eventually made it impossible for him to stay in “normal” school.  So instead of believing her son was “broken,” Marci did what many parents are doing today, she found a place that was able to accept Ethan just the way she saw him – not broken.  Just different.

Marci and her sonThe name of this amazing school is CDC – Child Development Center – located at the University of California Irvine.  It’s part of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics in the UC Irvine School of Medicine.  Reading through their web site, it may seem like the CDC is still a laboratory of sorts…

After a tour, I realized CDC is so much more!  CDC provides a nurturing environment for 60 kids – ages 5 to 12, all but 5 are boys – who were all asked to leave “normal” school because of their behavioral problems.  Without any medications (the kids have to come off meds to attend), CDC provides these kids with a supportive and nurturing environment, allowing them the space to develop positive self-esteem – in effect, to believe they are NORMAL!  I watched as these “badly behaved kids” participated in class, laughed, and socialized!  Instead of shoving these square kids into a round hole, CDC just became a square.  Not a novel concept, but really the most effective way to work with our kids.

Because of their success, parents are clamoring to get their kids into the CDC.  So Marci is doing what moms do – she’s raising money to make that possible.  At the event I attended, she raised $40,000 towards purchasing new modular buildings that are being delivered and set up this month, allowing the school to expand to 6th grade.  Her vision is to find a way to build a larger school, eventually allowing CDC to work with kids K-12.  Marci believes that will happen – and so do I.  Ethan, and all of our normal kids, deserve that chance.