Autism cases jump in U.S. - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Autism cases jump in U.S.

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The number of U.S. children with autism jumped 30% between 2008 and 2010. That's according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One in 68 U.S. children had an autism spectrum disorder in 2010. That's up from one in 88 children two years earlier.

The CDC reviewed the health and educational records of kids in 11 states.

According to the report, autism is five times more common in boys. The CDC estimates one in 42 boys have autism, compared to one in 189 girls.

White children are more likely to be diagnosed than black or Hispanic children. The report does not explain the reason for the autism rate increase

Many people believe those numbers don't necessarily mean the disease itself is on the rise, but think better diagnosis is in part responsible for the increase.

One viewer Sarah shared a popular sentiment on the KSFY Facebook Page:

"I feel like it's not that it has "jumped" as it is more that we have the ability to diagnose more."

It's a change local healthcare providers have noticed over the past few years.

"We definitely have seen an increase in the number of children that have come to us for autism diagnosis. We have an interdisciplinary team led by a physician that does that diagnosis at our outpatient facility," said Angie Brown with the Children's Care Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Children can be diagnosed on the autism spectrum as early as age two.

"You want to get diagnosed as early as possible. There's a wide variety of warning signs just because of the nature of autism. It is a spectrum disorder, so that means there are varying skills at different levels of that spectrum," said Kari Keating, a Speech Language Pathologist at Children's Care Hospital.

But there are certain common signs that help diagnose an autism disorder.

"Things like poor social skills, so they might have difficulty making eye contact...issues with communication is also a big red flag…and just different types of behaviors that are repetitive in nature," said Keating.

The earlier a child is diagnosed, the sooner these issues can be addressed.

"They might need more support than just a regular classroom environment. They might need speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, or just working on those type of skills," said Keating.

With the help of therapy and other treatment, children living with autism can make significant educational strides.

"Really just encouraging opportunities where they can communicate and give their input, their experience and ideas to you," said Katie Diez, a Speech Language Pathologist at Children's Care Hospital.

"They might need to learn differently than a child who doesn't have autism, and so the way you structure the way they are able to learn can make them have leaps and bounds in education," said Keating.

It's important to note that each individual with autism is unique. Many people on the autism spectrum are fully functional and often have above average abilities in music, academics or other skills. Others with autism may be unable to speak and have significant disabilities that do not allow them to live independently.

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