Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has had a profound effect on many lives. There’s a continued effort to learn as much as possible about the disorder in hopes of reaching out to those most in need and as early as possible. Due to the high numbers of children diagnosed, the CDC has been tracking the development of ASD for well over a decade with the aid of The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). Recently there has been new data released which could be beneficial to children and families affected by ASD.
The latest recorded data collected was compiled, in 2008 from fourteen areas within the United States and included information on the population, at the 8 year old range. This was done primarily because most children with ASD that have reached the age of 8 years of age would have been identified as in need of services, if they were affected by the disorder.
The newest facts estimated by the CDC reflected that 1 in 88 children were reported to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is a substantial increase to what was previously recorded. Take a look at some of the findings and the charts below:
• Since 2009 there has been an increase by 23% of children identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is 78% higher than the first report in 2007.
• There were a wide range of diagnosis in the above noted target area which included 1 in 47 (21.2 per 1000) children, up to 1 in 210 (4.8 per 1000) children that were affected by ASD.
• Boys were 5 times more likely than girls to have ASD, 1 in 54 and 1 in 252 respectively.
• The diagnoses of ASD in the Black and Hispanic populations have seen an increase as well. The largest increase recorded at 110% for Hispanic children and 91% in Black children. This could very well, be due to more awareness and avenues used in which to diagnose ASD.
• Although there was an increase in the diagnosis of ASD in children having IQ Scores of 70 and up, studies have shown that there were increases in cases of children at all intellectual levels.
• Studies have shown that some diagnosis of children with ASD has improved over time. Most children had been diagnosed by the age of 3; however, there are some that are not benefitting from this early diagnosis and were at the 4 year age range when initially diagnosed. There cannot be enough emphasis placed on the importance of early diagnosis. There are a variety of programs which could aid in early diagnosis and could help substantially in the child’s ability to learn new, important and essential skills. The CDC has created Learn the Signs Act Program which offers free tools that could be essential for a child’s development. Find out more about this program in the resources section below.
Moving forward there are a lot of resources available for children and the families of children that have been diagnosed with ASD. The first thing that we need to do is to educate ourselves about the causes of ASD, increase awareness and finally explore the many resources available that provide help.
Causes and Awareness:
Although there are no known causes that we are aware of presently that could cause a substantial increase in the diagnosis of ASD, we do know that quite a few things may play a role in its development. Some of those things may be:
• Studies have shown that children born by older parents may have a higher risk of developing ASD.
• In a small number of cases, some children born with lower birth weights and/or that are born prematurely have had an increased chance of developing ASD.
• Some prescription drugs, such as Thalidomide and Valproic Acid, taken by a mother during pregnancy may increase the chances of a child developing ASD.
What to look for with your child:
We have to pay attention to children that have delayed milestone in advancement between birth and 5 years of age. In addition we much create an internal awareness of how children are playing, how they are learning and some of their actions. Delays in advancement in any of these areas could be the first noticeable sign of ASD or some other developmental disability.
As stressed above it is very important to have awareness, know the causes and learn the signs of ASD so that children get the best possible care and treatment. Taking advantages of some of the free resources available, can offer a great deal of assistance to families and educators with the common goal of helping children that have been diagnosed with ASD.
There are a variety of useful studies that are currently taking place that could be instrumental in determining what factors are causing ASD. SEED is conducting comprehensive studies to identify a variety of risk factors such as genetics, health issues and the mother’s health during the child’s early years. If you’d like your child to join the other 3700 children in this study, read more about Seed.
Learn the Signs. Act Early is a program that provides an abundance of free tools and resources in which to help parents and educators recognize the various stages of a child’s development so that if a child is not on track, early intervention is available.