The CDC released their latest study based on data from 2008 that concludes the rate of autism has climbed to one in every 88 children. The data was collected in 14 states with children at the age of 8. This age was selected because by this time most children have already been diagnosed if they are autistic. Where possible, the researchers also gathered data from the schools on all of the children so that even if a child was not diagnosed, if they presented the right combination of symptoms based on the data provided by the schools, the researchers could determine the likelihood of that child being autistic. This provided a much clearer picture and more accurate data than what had been previously collected in 2002.
The study not only revealed new rates of diagnosis overall but also concluded that some states have a much higher rate than others. However, the researchers noted that the differing rates were most likely attributed to the lack of data provided by the schools in these areas. The findings also confirm what many of us already know; on average, young boys are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls the same age.
A major difference in this study is that the data was taken from a larger group of children and therefore provided a clearer picture. While it may imply that the number if children diagnosed has increased, it does not confirm this because the method of gathering data is not comparable to the previous study and therefore a comparison between the two cannot be made. All the new study proves is that the rate has increased based on a more accurate and detailed pool of data gathered and compiled by the CDC.
A positive outcome of the study is that there is no denying the importance of the available care for these children who are autistic. As the president of Autism Speaks noted, this is now nearing an epidemic. The efforts to find out why this is happening are more important than ever or it seems highly likely that these numbers will only continue to climb.