One out of every 45 children at the age of three or older are now being diagnosed with autism. That equates to two percent of children in the United States. This is the finding of a new government survey, according to NBC News on Friday. The report says that this is a startling increase from past estimates on the number of children with autism. The last estimate asserted that just one in 68 children had autism.
The researchers who came up with the new data admit that the latest survey was done much differently than done in the past. The researchers asked parents different questions about their children and any diagnosis of autism. They believe that the new method of determining the numbers probably gives the most accurate estimate yet. Therefore, the new numbers do not show a huge increase in autism. It simply suggests that the information is now more accurate.
It has been said that it is clear that doctors are changing how they diagnose autism. Additionally, parents are much more willing and likely to seek a diagnosis of autism for their children – much more likely to reach out for a diagnosis than they had been in the past. Benjamin Zablotsky – who is an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics – assisted in leading the most recent study on the number of children with autism. He said that 1-in-45 children having autism is believed to be the most accurate parental report of autism to date, and he said:
I think within this report we found that the way that we ask the parents about autism spectrum disorder can have an impact on the way the parents respond to the question. We feel we are asking the question in a better way than before.
Zablotsky said that earlier questionnaires were more complicated with parents being asked if a child had ever been diagnosed with a developmental disorder – including autism, says USA Today. He believes that that form of questioning may have been confusing to some parents. He believes that some parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder reported the developmental disability as “other developmental disorders” instead of accurately labeling it as ASD (autism spectrum disorder).
While many parents and advocacy groups claim something must be happening to make so many children develop autism in recent times, many experts disagree by saying that it is much more likely that the condition is being recognized and diagnosed more often now. Data for this latest study was derived from detailed surveys of 35,000 United States households. The parents who have children aged 3-to-17 years of age were specifically asked if their children had ever received an autism diagnosis. The group’s report estimated that the prevalence of ASD was 2.24 percent in 2014 data which is a significant increase from the 1.25 percent calculated in data accumulated from 2011 through 2013.
Michael Rosanoff, the director of Autism Speaks which is an advocacy group, asserts that the latest study’s findings is another piece of evidence which suggests that the prevalence of autism in the U.S. is being under-reported. In contrast to the findings on autism, the prevalence of other developmental disorders has declined significantly from 4.84 percent based on 2011 through 2013 data to 3.57 percent based on the 2014 data, said the official report on the researchers’ findings.