A new report from the Centers for Disease Control increases the estimated number of children with autism spectrum disorders to 1 in 50. The numbers seem staggering, but Adelaide Robb
, MD, a child psychiatrist at Children’s National says the increase is likely due to better diagnosis.
"Because many of the healthcare providers from the pediatricians to the specialists like the developmental pediatricians and child psychiatrists and psychologists are more aware of looking for and screening for autism earlier in the age of the child instead of waiting until after school is started when the difficulties can arrive," Dr. Robb told WUSA9 in an interview.
According to the new report, increases were seen in every age group, and in both boys and girls. The authors noted that the increase was mostly due to previously unreported or undiagnosed cases of autism.Symptoms of Autism:
Children with autism spectrum disorders become less responsive to parents or other stimuli as they get older. Experts stress that it’s important for parents to have their child evaluated by a professional, if they suspect an autism spectrum disorder. Depending on the age of the child, symptoms in the following areas are common.
- Social skills
- Resists being cuddled; may scream to be put down when held
- Struggles to form relationships with peers
- Avoids eye-to-eye contact
- Use of language and imagination
- Speaks later than other children of the same age
- Does not understand or copy speech and/or gestures
- Excessively repeats certain phrases or words
- Behavior, activities and interests
- Develops habit behavior and compulsive routines
- Greatly resists even the slightest change; becomes enraged if obsessive routine is altered or activities are disrupted
- Obsessed with one topic or idea
For a more complete list of symptoms, and for more information on autism spectrum disorder, visit our Autism Spectrum Disorder Program
While the cause of autism is unclear, there is a lot of research underway to better understand the disease. Dr. Robb is leading a study that aims to target the core symptoms of autism. Known as Connect Me, the trail is enrolling children ages 6 – 12. For more information, contact Children’s National at 202-476-6067, or visit clinicaltrials.gov.
The full study
about the new estimates of children with autism spectrum disorder is available through the CDC’s website.
Are you surprised by the new numbers?