only story for today---NEW NUMBERS---HIGHER THAN EVER!!
In the wonderful world of autism news, the numbers just keep going up. Now it's one in 50. The whole country shares the official Utah rate.
We're cautioned that it's probably just due to more "increased awareness" and "greater services." Michael Rosanoff at Autism Speaks believes the new rate still UNDERESTIMATES the real number of affected kids. Stephen Blumberg from the CDC says that autism develops in the womb---the evidence says so. So we're all set here for April Autism Awareness Month. Be aware: More kids have autism, but it's still better diagnosing and no one is worried.
"Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.
"The earlier government estimate of 1 in 88 comes from a study that many consider more rigorous. It looks at medical and school records instead of relying on parents.
"For decades, autism meant kids with severe language, intellectual and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. But the definition has gradually expanded and now includes milder, related conditions.
"The new estimate released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would mean at least 1 million children have autism.
"The number is important - government officials look at how common each illness or disorder is when weighing how to spend limited public health funds.
"It's also controversial.
"The new statistic comes from a national phone survey of more than 95,000 parents in 2011 and 2012. Less than a quarter of the parents contacted agreed to answer questions, and it's likely that those with autistic kids were more interested than other parents in participating in a survey on children's health, CDC officials said.
"Still, CDC officials believe the survey provides a valid snapshot of how many families are affected by autism, said Stephen Blumberg, the CDC report's lead author.
"The study that came up with the 1-in-88 estimate had its own limitations. It focused on 14 states, only on children 8 years old, and the data came from 2008. Updated figures based on medical and school records are expected next year.
"'We've been underestimating' how common autism is, said Michael Rosanoff of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. He believes the figure is at least 1 in 50."
"Two percent of U.S. schoolkids - or about a million children - have been diagnosed with some sort of autism, according to the latest government report released on Wednesday -- or at least their parents say they have. It's a large increase since the last report but experts stress it doesn't necessarily mean more children are developing autism.
"Instead, the numbers suggests that more children are being diagnosed as they get older - probably because of many factors, including increased awareness and more services both to diagnose children and help them, the researchers said.
"'Our findings suggest that the increase in prevalence may be due to increased recognition of autism spectrum disorders in recent years, especially when the symptoms were mild,' Stephen Blumberg of the National Center for Health Statistics, which published the report, said in a telephone interview.
"'Parents are more aware. Professionals are more aware. There may be more access to diagnostic services.'...
"Blumberg notes that most evidence suggests autism develops in the womb, perhaps from a combination of genetic predisposition and other, outside factors.
"It does have implications for the health and education systems, Blumberg says.
"'The data certainly suggest that a greater number of parents are dealing with autism spectrum disorder with their kids,' he said. 'Those parents are likely to make demands on the system, the health care system or education system, and the number of parents making those demands is higher than we had previously thought.'"
"Michael Rosanoff, associate director for Public Health Research and Scientific Review at Autism Speaks, said that 'this study added to the evidence suggesting that we are underestimating the prevalence of autism in the United States.'
"'This report, however, underestimated the real prevalence of autism, Rosanoff said. 'It's probably much higher, 'he said."...