Autism cases are on the rise again, with about 1 in 88 children diagnosed.
The previous estimate was 1 in 110, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The latest data is part of a series of studies that have steadily increased the government’s autism rate estimate.
Part of the increase is because improvements in identifying and diagnosing cases, government officials said. Although the extent of how much impact this has had on the increase is unknown.
“To understand more, we need to keep accelerating our research into risk factors and causes of autism spectrum disorders,” said Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in a news release announcing the findings.
For the report, researchers gathered data from 2008 in 14 states – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.
And differences were found among the states. The number of children identified with autism ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah.
The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children. Additionally, researchers found that autism spectrum disorders were almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified.
“This information paints a picture of the magnitude of the condition across our country and helps us understand how communities identify children with autism,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the news release.
The CDC included the following tips for parents who are concerned about a child’s development and the possibilities of autism:
- Talk to your child’s doctor about your concerns.
- Call your local early intervention program or school system for an assessment.
- You do not need a diagnosis to access services for your child.