Autism: Still on The Rise

autism still on the riseIf you float in online autism circles you may be well aware of the new autism figures released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday.  While it has been evident for many years that the number of those with autism is steadily rising, yesterday’s announcement that the number of cases has risen 78 percent in the last ten years is a sobering reminder.

The number of autism cases in the United States has reached one in every 88 children, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports. The figures vary wildly between girls and boys with one in every 54 boys affected, five fold the prevalence in girls: one in 252.

Some attribute the dramatic increase in autism cases to growing awareness, leading to more correct diagnoses. But it may also reflect an actual increase in the number of people affected by the disorder. “We’re not quite sure the reasons for the increase,”  Coleen Boyle of the CDC, said to the Associated Press.

More research is needed to figure out the cause for the increasing numbers.

“The need for action has never been more urgent.” said Dr. Joshua Weinstein, CEO & Founder of Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices and ICare4Autism “We have entered a new age of autism, characterized on the one hand by unprecedented incidence, and on the other by advanced research, earlier diagnosis, and progressively more effective intervention.”

Here is a breakdown of the key facts from the CDC report:

  • About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethinic, and socioeconomic groups.
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
  • Certain states seem to have a concentration of autism cases. One in 210 children in Alabama were affected, as opposed to one in 47 in Utah.
  • The biggest growth in diagnoses over the last few years was among black and Hispanic children. This could be due instead to changes in medical practices in certain communities over the years.

Autism awareness advocacy groups are taking this opportunity to call attention to the disorder’s prevalence in society and rally support for worldwide collaboration.

Dr Weinstein is at the forefront of this movement, “The soaring autism rate is one of our major concerns and one that I have been trying to alarm the world for many years. That is why ICare4Autism is convening the International Autism Conference in August that will take place in Jerusalem”.  The conference, Autism: A Global Perspective will bring together over 50 major international researchers.  This cross-disciplinary gathering will play a vital role in fast-tracking improved autism detection and treatment.

While the causes of autism are largely still a mystery to the medical world, earlier diagnosis and increased understanding is improving outcomes for those with autism on a large scale.  There has been a large movement to highlight the strengths of those with autism and how those can be used for unique employment opportunities.