New data has revealed that an estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. has some form of autism. Up 78 percent from a decade ago, experts believe more children are being diagnosed because parents and educators are more aware of the signs. In 2000 and 2002, 1 in 150 children had the disorder. Two years later, 1 in 125 8-year-olds were found to be autistic. In 2006, the number was 1 in 110.
If recognized at an early age, the neurodevelopment disorder that impairs language, communication ,and social skills can be treated. "Early detection is associated with better outcomes," says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "The earlier kids are detected, the earlier they could get services, and the less impairment they'll have on their learning and in their lives on a long-term basis is our best understanding."
Is the rapid increase in numbers suspicious? And, could there be ways to prevent the disorder?