March 29, 2017, (Australia) SBS.com: Why a 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/29/why-42-cent-increase-autism-diagnoses-no-cause-alarm The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it's not a cause for alarm. In 2015, 164,000 Australians had autism diagnoses, according to results of an ABS survey released on Wednesday. That’s an increase of around 50,000 people since 2012. This figure reflects the number of diagnoses - not the number of people with conditions that might be classified as autism if they sought a diagnosis…. Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, said the rise was also caused by a broadening of the criteria of autism and improvement in identifying autism earlier in children. She said the increase may also be linked to biological factors and that children of older fathers and premature babies have a higher chance of receiving autism diagnoses.