CDC’s new autism numbers show increase, but there’s more to that

New estimates of the prevalence of autism from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are out. Now 1 in 59 8-year-olds are on the autism spectrum. Previously, the number was 1 in 68 in 2016.

The numbers come from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network – which looks at health and education records of about 300,000 kids.

RELATED: Mom shares the less-than-pretty truth about raising a child with autism

Maddox Pipkin, 4, and his mother Vanessa Pipkin sit in their seats on an American Airlines plane during the Wings for All event. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman 2016

One of the reasons the numbers might have gone up, according to the CDC, is better tracking of children who are minorities — specifically Hispanic and black. The numbers come from 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. They represent about 8 percent of 8-year-old children in the United States.

Autism also now has many different types of people under its big umbrella. In 2013 when the American Psychiatric Association delivered its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what it calls DSM-5, it changed the way some kids with autism were labeled. It created a spectrum of disorders and did away with labeling high functioning people as having Asperger’s syndrome and brought more people under the autism label.

RELATED: How a child with autism found an education beyond special education

RELATED: How a teen with autism found a way to communicate through music and poetry

Austin researcher Laurence Becker has been studying  these savants. In May he’ll be premiering a documentary on seven savant artists. “Fierce Love and Art” will premiere at 7 p.m. May 12 at a theater that is still being finalized. Tickets are $10 a person, $25 for a family. Go to fierceloveparents.com for more information.

The  CDC says more needs to be done to identify kids with autism earlier in their lives so that therapy can begin sooner.

It gives these facts:

  • Fewer than half of the children identified in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network received their first autism diagnosis by the time they were 4 years old.
  • Although 85 percent of children with autism had concerns about their development noted in their health records by the time they were 3 years old, only 42 percent received a developmental evaluation by that age.
  • This lag between first concern and first evaluation may affect when children with autism can begin getting the services they need.

Read more about how to tell if your child might be showing signs with these two stories:

Is your child on track? The CDC develops an app

Does your child need Early Childhood Intervention program?

And, if you haven’t heard about Julia, the “Sesame Street” puppet with autism, learn more here:

“Sesame Street” continues autism awareness episodes

Dylan Flint, 7, and Liesa Randel get their boarding passes for the Wings for All flight. Wings for All event at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport allowed families with children with autism to practice going through security and boarding a plane.  Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman 2016

Summer is coming up and that means travel. Read these stories below:

14 tips to traveling with a child with autism

Wings for All helps kids with autism board a plane

 


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