New Study Says More Kids Are Being Diagnosed With Autism

young boy smiling

There’s a new study that suggests more and more children are being diagnosed with autism in the United States. As a matter of fact, health professionals say that 1 in 40 kids now has autism, according to a new study. Here’s what you need to know.

The study, conducted by the National Survey of Children’s Health, asked parents to respond, online or by mail, to questions about children in their household. According to Fox News, the survey found that 2.5 percent of U.S. children who were between the ages of 3 and 17 years in 2016 have autism. Another 0.29 percent had the diagnosis at some time in their lives.

The study also points out that because there is no medical test available, the autism spectrum disorder is a challenging condition to track. Some researchers even believe that the occurrence of autism likely ranges from about 1 in 59 kids to 1 in 40 kids, although studies are still ongoing. Either way, the statistics are troubling, as autism rates have been rising in recent years, despite more awareness and the expanded definition of the mental condition.

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"All contribute different information to form a fuller picture," said Michael Kogan, the lead author of the new report conducted by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration, a federal agency.

Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system and the range and severity can vary widely. Some common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors. Many health experts and pediatricians agree that early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning, even though each child’s situation may differ.

And while no one knows what the main cause of autism is, some anti-vaxxers believe that childhood vaccinations might be the cause, although there has been no scientific evidence or research to back up this claim. With that being said, scientists believe that a faulty gene or genes might make a person more likely to develop autism when there are also other factors present. This can be anything from a chemical imbalance, viruses or chemicals, or a lack of oxygen at birth.

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