US autism estimates climb to 1 in 50 school-age children
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - As many as one in 50 school-age children in the United States have a diagnosis of autism, up 72 per cent since 2007, but much of the increase involves milder cases, suggesting the rise is linked to better recognition of autism symptoms and not more cases, government researchers said on Wednesday.
Overall, the telephone survey of more than 100,000 parents found about 2 per cent of children ages 6 to 17 have autism, up from 1.16 per cent in 2007, the last time the study was conducted.
"That translates to 1 million school age children ages 6 to 17 who were reported by their parents to have autism spectrum disorder," said Dr Stephen Blumberg, a senior scientist at the National Centre for Health Statistics, a part of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study.
As with prior estimates, boys were much more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls, with 1 in 31 school-age boys, or 3.2 per cent, having an autism diagnosis, compared with 1 in 143, or 0.7 per cent of girls, having a diagnosis.