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Report: New Jersey’s autism rate is the highest in the U.S.


Report: New Jersey’s autism rate is the highest in the U.S.

MARCH 27, 2014, 1:25 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014, 4:34 PM

Autism rates continue to rise sharply across the nation, with New Jersey now reporting the highest rates in the country – one in 45 children here are diagnosed with some form of the developmental disability, though federal officials said they are unsure if that is due to better screening methods or an actual uptick in cases.

Nationally, autism rates have risen 30 percent since 2012, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. One in every 68 children in the United States – nearly 1.2 million children under 21 years old – are estimated to have the disorder.

Boys are hit especially hard with the condition — one in 28 boys in New Jersey and one in 42 nationally are on the autism spectrum, the report showed.

“The rate among boys in New Jersey is over 3 percent,” said Walter Zahorodny, the director of the New Jersey autism study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “A population with 3 percent of the boys having this is frightening. Some children do improve but many, many CQ don’t have a typical life.”

For the CDC study, researchers looked at community records, and in most cases, the educational records, of 8-year-olds in 11 states, including those from four counties in New Jersey. Experts say eight is the age when autism is most prevalent.

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