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CDC: Numbers of Kids with Autism Surge in Latest Study

PHOTO: New numbers indicate one in 68 children tested has autism, a 29 percent increase since 2008. Photo credit: J. Durham.
PHOTO: New numbers indicate one in 68 children tested has autism, a 29 percent increase since 2008. Photo credit: J. Durham.
May 5, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The numbers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders have surged, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those new numbers show one in 68 children tested has autism, a 29 percent increase since 2008. Part of that may be because it is being spotted earlier.

Brett Spitale, executive director of Autism Speaks, says while his organization would like to see those numbers going the other way, there is an upside.

"The earlier that we can intervene with services, behavioral services and any kinds of therapies that are available to our families, the better off that child is going to be down the road," he advises. "So intervention and early intervention is definitely a big thing right now inside of our community."

Spitale says the ultimate goal for groups such as Autism Speaks is being involved in finding a cure. In the meantime, he adds, tracing the origins of autism is a top priority.

"Whether it's environmental is certainly something we are still looking into," he says. "Whether it's biomedical is something that we're still looking into, as well, but we know it's happening in the womb now, which is extremely important for us to identify."

The CDC studied 8-year-olds at 11 clinics across the country.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - AR