March 28, 2014: One of the top stories for most news agencies across the country today is about the release of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that indicates a growing number of children afflicted with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)
The 2010 study, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010 , which was released yesterday, stated that the rate of children diagnosed with an ASD has increased from 1 in 88 in 2008, to a staggering 1 in 68, an increase of 30% in just two years, and more than 100% over the last 14 years, based on the 1 in 1500 rate reported by the CDC in 2000.
- The incidence of autism ranged from a low of 1 in 175 children in Alabama to a high of 1 in 45 in New Jersey, according to the CDC.
- While the CDC report doesn’t explain why the incidence of autism is rising, it does confirm the long-held belief that autism remains more common in boys than in girls.
- The report also indicates that, contrary to popular belief, more than half of all autistic children are not considered mentally disabled, with IQ scores over 70. (This includes the estimated 25% of autistics who are non-verbal.)
Watch this brief CNN interview segment as noted autistic author and advocate Temple Grandin provides a few interesting insights about autism.
Download the CDC Report: Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010 (PDF opens in new window)
While a Reuters report  states that “experts think the rise may simply reflect that parents and doctors are getting better at recognizing and diagnosing the disorder,” and were largely unfazed by the latest numbers, this explanation, in our opinion, does not seem to correlate with such a large jump in the numbers over such a short period of time, and may be reflective of a larger problem than they would like to believe.
1. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), March 27, 2014
2. CDC: 1 in 68 U.S. children has autism, Miriam Falco; CNN, March 27, 2014
3. UPDATE 2-As many as one in 68 U.S. kids may have autism -CDC, Julie Steenhuysen; Reuters, March 27, 2014