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Number of Kids Diagnosed with Autism Continues to Rise

Autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental disorders that includes a varying range of symptoms involving difficulty with social skills and communication and repetitive movements or behaviors.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that, in 2014, one in 59 children were diagnosed with autism by age 8. That’s an increase from one in 68 in both 2010 and 2012. The 2014 figures are averages based on reporting from 11 states including more than 325,000 kids.

White Children and Boys More Likely to Be Diagnosed

According to the data, boys are four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism as girls. There’s also a racial gap: White children are seven times more likely be diagnosed than black children and 22 percent more likely than Hispanic children. However, these racial gaps are down considerably from 2012, when white children outnumbered black children with autism by 20 percent and Hispanics by 50 percent. Researchers say this could indicate better screening for minorities. 

Know the Signs of Autism

Early diagnosis and treatment of autism can help improve learning and social skills in children. Talk with your child’s doctor if you notice your child is not reaching any of the following milestones or begins losing any of these skills:

  • Smiling or being social

  • Pointing or babbling by 12 months

  • Speaking words by 16 months

  • Putting together two-word phrases by 24 months


Online Medical Reviewer: Cunningham, Louise, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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