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Disability Scoop: More kids with autism; more better diagnosing

March 26, 2020, Disability Scoop: CDC: Autism Rate Climbs Again The number of American children diagnosed with autism is on the rise yet again, according to new government data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 1 in 54 kids have the developmental disorder. That’s a jump from the 1 in 59 rate that was reported just two years ago. The latest figures published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report are based on data collected in 2016 through the agency’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which regularly tracks prevalence by reviewing health and educational records for 8-year-olds living in 11 communities across the country…. On the plus side, CDC officials said that more children are being evaluated for and diagnosed with autism at younger ages. In addition, this marks the first time that the government monitoring network has seen the same prevalence in black and white children. “Some of the increase in autism prevalence might be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and receiving services in their communities,” said Stuart Shapira, associate director for science at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “The increase may also reflect reductions in racial differences in identification of autism.” Despite the gains seen in identification of black children, the latest report found that Hispanic children continued to be diagnosed at lower rates. And, both black and Hispanic kids with autism were evaluated for the developmental disorder at older ages than their white peers. Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, said that most of the increase in prevalence can be attributed to the changing diagnosis rate in black children. And, if the estimated prevalence of autism is increasing because clinicians are getting better at identifying kids with the developmental disorder, “then that’s positive.”


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