More autism reported, likely from better testing
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, in her bedroom on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in New York. Autism cases are on the rise again, largely due to wider screening and better diagnosis, federal health officials said Thursday, March 2012. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
(AP) -- At 18 months, Cristina Astacio spoke only a few words, wouldn't respond to her name and shunned other kids in her day care group. Last October, her worried parents found out why.
She has a mild form of autism, a diagnosis being given to more U.S. children than ever before, largely because of more awareness and better diagnosis.
According to new government statistics, the rate is about 1 in 88. That means autism is nearly twice as common as the government reported just five years ago. The largest increases are in Hispanic kids like Cristina.
The definition of autism has changed over the years, and Cristina might not have been considered autistic two decades ago.
But experts say kids like her are lucky in a way, because her parents recognized early that something was wrong. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report issued Thursday found that 40 percent of kids weren't diagnosed until after age 4. Evidence shows that children who are identified early and get help have the best chance for reaching their potential, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends autism screening for all children at age 18 months and 2 years.
Diagnosing the developmental disorder relies on observing behavior. Autism can't be cured, but treatment including intensive behavior therapy can help many kids function better.
The academy's Dr. Susan Hyman said many children who aren't making eye contact and aren't talking "may have autism, but they may have other things." She said it's important for parents to be persistent about their concerns with their doctor so their kids can be evaluated.
Kristy Batesole, of Atascadero, Calif., says she suspected something was wrong with her son, Keegan, even when he was a hard-to-calm overly fussy baby. He learned words, but by age 2 stopped talking, would spend hours opening and closing doors and sometimes bang his head on the ground.
Though he started getting special help in preschool in Nevada, he wasn't formally diagnosed with autism until last year, at age 6, after the family moved to California, where there are more autism specialists.
Cristina Astacio gets two hours of behavior therapy six days a week. Her mom, Charisse, says the little girl now responds to commands and speaks about 50 words. The most special are two words Cristina never said before. "Now she says `mommy' and `daddy,'" Astacio said. "It's wonderful."
Christina's dad, Christopher, is a special-education teacher in the New York City; most of the kids in his class are Hispanic and many have autism.
"I remember back in the past, a few kids here and there had autism, not like the way it is now," Astacio said. "I'm really curious why so many kids are being diagnosed."
Experts, including CDC researchers, think broader screening and better diagnosis have largely contributed to that. But autism's cause remains a mystery, and government researchers are seeking answers.
The latest numbers are based on 2008 data from 14 states and suggest that autism rates have climbed 23 percent since 2006. Rates are highest in boys and white children. But the biggest rate increase was among Hispanics, from 1 in 270 in 2002 to about 1 in 125 in 2008.
That rate increase also is likely due to better awareness. The CDC report says there's no strong evidence of any racial or ethnic difference in risk factors for autism and that it's likely the condition is underdiagnosed in blacks and Hispanics.
Melissa Miller, a St. Petersburg, Fla., mom whose daughter, Chelsea, was diagnosed last year at age 2, said many people still misunderstand the disorder.
"I think many people hear `autism' and think `Rain Man,'" she said, referring to the 1988 movie featuring Dustin Hoffman as the mathematically brilliant but socially impaired autistic savant.
"The autism spectrum is so vast, and all of our children are different. Many of them don't rock back and forth or have savant skills. They are sweet, affectionate, intelligent, goofy - and exhausting - kids," Miller said.
Proposed revisions in the manual that doctors use to diagnose mental illness would streamline autism criteria. Critics contend the suggested changes would be too narrow and exclude children who need educational and behavioral services.
Hyman noted that since the manual's last revision, in 1994, much has been learned about autism. "There's a real possibility the new definition will be better for children," she said Thursday at a CDC news conference.
CDC officials say research into causes of autism will help determine if there's been a true increase or just better diagnosis.
Genetics is believed to play a role. Studies have found no connection with childhood vaccines, but other factors under investigation include mothers' illnesses or medication during pregnancy. First results from the CDC study are expected next year.
Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, said the new figures indicate "a public health emergency that demands immediate attention."
Her group estimates that U.S. autism costs total $126 billion each year, including costs related to diagnosis and treatment. That estimate also includes treatment for severely affected adults and lost wages.
©2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Government finds higher autism figure: 1 in 100 Oct 05, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Doctors defend safety of vaccinations Mar 08, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Surveys find 300,000 autistic kids in U.S. May 05, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Cases of childhood autism increasing in UK Jul 14, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- No link found between autism and celiac disease May 01, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Calculating on-axis elements of a solenoid
5 hours ago I wanted to mention that this solenoid has many winds over many layers. The thickness of the windings is 2.4 inches coming off of the engineering...
latitude & longitude & air pressure
7 hours ago Hi there, I have a peculiar question. Imagine that you are in a earth position, obtained by google, that gives you the latitude and longitude....
Differences of Classical Mechanics when learned with Calc vs algebra?
10 hours ago what are the differences? Every example I find usually has a derivative or integral or some kind of calculus defined concept that seems to make it...
what is the distance traveled
14 hours ago A rough sketch of experiment. Image: http://i43.tinypic.com/14t4sk5.png the red dots represent a side view of path traveled, F is downward force...
Image of a Convex Lens Cut in Half Horizontally
18 hours ago Hello everyone, A friend of mine came up with this question in class and I really do not have a good answer. Suppose you have a convex lens...
Ray tracing through optical system of thick lenses
18 hours ago Can you advise me a free software that allow to draw rays passed throught system of thick lenses (preferable in 3D)?
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Children with autism showed significant improvement after six months of simple sensory exercises at home using everyday items such as scents, spoons and sponges, according to UC Irvine neurobiologists.
Autism spectrum disorders May 21, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Research by Victoria University PhD education graduand Larah van der Meer highlights the importance of understanding the communication preferences of children with developmental disabilities such as autism.
Autism spectrum disorders May 14, 2013 | 3.3 / 5 (3) | 1
At times, Andy Shih still finds himself overwhelmed by the groundswell of interest in autism applications he's seen in the three years since Apple Inc. released the first iPad.
Autism spectrum disorders May 09, 2013 | 2 / 5 (1) | 0
Children with autism see simple movement twice as quickly as other children their age, and this hypersensitivity to motion may provide clues to a fundamental cause of the developmental disorder, according ...
Autism spectrum disorders May 08, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Existing research shows that bicyclists who wear helmets have an 88 percent lower risk of brain injury, but researchers at Boston Children's Hospital found that simply having bicycle helmet laws in place showed a 20 percent ...
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
13 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
13 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
10 hours ago | 4 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |