A report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that one in 88 children in the U.S. has autism, a statistic that indicates a 23 percent increase in autism diagnoses since 2002. And yet its causes are still relatively unknown. That’s what makes autism awareness so important, and that’s why April is Autism Awareness Month.
According to Discovery News, “The new estimates, based on data from 2008, show a 23 percent increase in autism diagnoses since the last report. In 2002, 1 in 150 kids were estimated to have autism and in 2006 the prevalence increased to 1 in 110.”
Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks, told Discovery News that the new data points to a need for a national plan to raise funds for research to understand exactly what causes autism.
One step in the right direction is diagnosing kids early. “Research shows the earlier children are diagnosed with autism and receive autism treatments, the more they benefit,” said Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. But unless we share our knowledge via a number of channels, including autism awareness promotions, parents won’t know when or even how to get their children tested.
Discovery News reports that concerned parents can speak with a doctor, local school systems, or early intervention programs for a proper assessment.