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Experts: Autism "may be seriously underreported"; new study from Rutgers

Jan 25, 2023, Healthline: Autism Diagnoses May Be Seriously Underreported: What to Know

Researchers say diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder are on the rise, but cases might still be underreported.

Experts note that one reason for the increase could be that more medical professionals are becoming familiar with the symptoms.

Some experts suggest that all children be screened for autism.

A new study reports that diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are on the rise. Conversely, the findings also suggest that cases of autism are being underreported.

Researchers analyzed data in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area between 2000 and 2016, publishing their findings today in the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers stated that ASD diagnoses in children with intellectual disabilities doubled between 2000 and 2016, but diagnoses in kids with no intellectual disability nearly quintupled during this timeframe….

Josephine Shenouda, DPH, a research study manager at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the lead author of the study, told Healthline that the data reflects an improved understanding of autism — and underlines the importance of detecting the neurodevelopmental condition early.


The telltale signs of autism emerge early in life — but, as the data shows, many children with autism are not diagnosed and documented. …


Shenouda said the study’s data indicates that doctors are likely getting better at identifying autism in children without other conditions.

Shenouda, who’s also an adjunct professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health, says children are still falling through the cracks, though….

With improved efforts to understand and identify autism, the increase in cases is part of a larger trend that will continue, says Shenouda.

“More children are identified with autism today, yet that number is likely to continue to rise as we address disparities in the identification of autism without intellectual disability among historically disadvantaged groups,” she said….

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