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Rise in autism rate is up for debate


Rise in autism rate is up for debate
Saturday March 23, 2013, 12:02 AM
The Record

When New Jersey reported one of the nation’s highest rates of autism last year — doubling in six years to one in 49 children — researchers described it as “beyond an emergency.”

But a federal study released this week indicated that the high rate appears to be the norm nationally. Autism spectrum disorder now affects one in every 50 children, well above the one in 88 previously reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The good news is that the increase in autism isn’t special to New Jersey,” said Walter Zahorodny, an autism researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “The bad news is that it’s a significant increase and it’s registering everywhere.”

The findings released this week by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the CDC are spurring debate: While experts attribute the increase to better reporting, it also suggests that the disorder is being diagnosed more frequently in children with milder symptoms.

According to the study, 1 million children nationally are diagnosed with autism, a complex disorder that affects brain development and a person’s ability to communicate, learn and form relationships.

One thought on “Rise in autism rate is up for debate

  1. I am someone who works for a child study team in a district in Bergen County. Last year we were re-evaluating a student who was clearly a Downs Syndrome child. When the developmental peditrician’s report came back it also listed autism as a diagnosis. How often is this being done to augment the numbers?

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