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Autism in America – the Latest Findings

teddybearApril is Autism Awareness month. GoHealth aims to show support by keeping you informed of the most current strides in understanding the disorder.

The latest research shows the highest estimated number of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to date. With these statistics, it is likely that all of us know a child with ASD or a family that has been touched by this disorder. For years, autism was very much a mystery in the medical community. However, growing rates of diagnosed cases and increased media coverage have brought the issue to the forefront and facilitated major strides in understanding and treating ASD.

Parents of children with ASD will want to make sure they have the right health insurance plan to best cover the unique medical needs of their little ones or learn about the options available in their state. While the breadth of knowledge about autism spectrum disorder continues to grow, a great deal of information is already available. The following will give you the tools to further understand the many faces of ASD.

    About 1 in 88 children in the United States has ASD

    This information was released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure is up 25 percent since 2006 and nearly doubles the rate reported in 2002.

    ASD more prevalent in boys

    In fact, boys (1 in 54) are almost five times more likely to be diagnosed as girls (1 in 152).

    ASD and race

    The number of children identified with ASDs spiked quite a bit in the Hispanic (110 percent) and black (91 percent) populations.

    Why such a huge increase in the diagnosis of ASD?

    There’s no simple answer to this question. As concern grows about the disorder, so does speculation about its causes. ASD has been blamed on early childhood vaccination, neurotoxins in the air and in food, the weight of the mother and the increasing age of new mothers and fathers.

    Some argue that it is the detection rate that has actually increased and not the occurrence of the disorder, itself. The ever-increasing awareness of ASD has caused parents, loved ones, and health care providers to pay attention more and pick up on key warning signs.

    Know the signs and act early

    Children as young as 1 year old can demonstrate early signs of autism and ASD. There are several developmental milestones that parents should pay attention to at different stages of their child’s growth. For detailed accounts of what to look for and how to proceed with treatment, AutismSpeaks.org.

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