Autism diagnosis rates have tripled in the last 16 years, new study says
(CNN) - Autism diagnosis rates in children increased three-fold in less than two decades, according to a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Researchers from Rutgers University focused on diagnosis rates of 8-year-olds in the New York/New Jersey metro area.
They found that between 2000 and 2016, the rate of autism diagnoses tripled.
One reason for the higher rate of diagnoses may be that there is more awareness of autism within the general public.
There are also better tools for diagnosing autism and more education about it. Doctors have gotten better at identifying cases of autism without intellectual disability – that is, children who have average or above-average IQs who display characteristics of autism, like impaired social skills.
Those cases are traditionally less obvious to parents, teachers and doctors than cases in children with intellectual disabilities.
According to a 2021 CDC report, one in 54 children had been diagnosed with autism by age 8 in 2016, compared to one in 150 children in 2000.
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