BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new survey of parents has revealed the prevalence of autism in children is a lot higher than the official U.S. estimates, providing evidence of a great spike from 2011 to 2014.
Instead of 1 in 68 children aged between 3 and 17 years, the survey report from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 1 in every 45 U.S. children are somewhere on the autism spectrum.
The number of children suffering of autism in the above mentioned age range has increased with almost 80 percent from 2011. Researchers agree that public health officials should definitely be alarmed by the present numbers of 1 in 45 (2.24 percent of all children born in the U.S.).
According to lead author, Benjamin Zablotsky, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics, previous studies have presented adulterated results due to the format of the questionnaire. Many parents of children diagnosed with autism used to report it is a development disability, which meant their children weren’t included in the statistics.
Researchers addressed this issue in the new questionnaire, however, obtaining new results that made autism estimates more similar to ones from other non-governmental sources. Evidently, the rate of “other development disabilities” had decreased significantly, dropping from 4.85 percent in 2011-2013 to about 3.50 percent in 2014.
Intellectual disability has remained constant in frequency, plateauing at roughly 1.1 percent over the same period, while the prevalence of any three of the conditions – autism, development and intellectual disability – has also remained consistent across all surveys.
Heated debates have sparked during the past few years over the abnormally and worryingly high rates of autism among U.S. children, with experts attributing them to various phenomena. Some say over-diagnosis plays the middle man in this situation, while others think the child’s brain development could be affected by environmental factors.
Jill Escher, president of the Autism Society of San Francisco, has commented upon the results of this survey saying that the “decade to decade” numbers are the ones health experts should be worried about, because they reflect a dramatic increase in the number of children living with a very serious neurological condition.
At the same time, researchers found that an autism diagnosis rarely comes on its own, as children with autism are also more prone to developing conditions such as learning disabilities. The most common study shows that over 62 percent of the children with autism also have LDs and attention-deficit disorder.
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