Do you know what that represents? Could it be 1 in 88 chances of winning the big lottery? Could it be 1 in 88 chances of getting pregnant in a hot tub? Could it be 1 in 88 chances of your child being diagnosed with a form of Autism?
If that's what you guessed, you would be right. The CDC released the results of a new study of 14 communities throughout the United States that shows the diagnosis of Autism has increased by 78% since 2000. 78%!!!! Does this mean that more of our children really and truly have this disorder? or does this mean that Drs are getting better a diagnosing this disorder?
Personally, I think it means a little of both. With the expansive criteria for Autism and its offshoots, such as Asperger's Syndrome, more children can be lumped onto the Autism Spectrum.
The Study shows that 1 in 54 boys are diagnosed with some form of Autism vs 1 in 252 girls. What a good reason to be a girl, among thousands of other reasons.
This study is scary! I mean, it shows that more services and supports are needed throughout the country for the kids, their families and in the schools. It shows that this disorder is much more prevalent than we initially thought.
Then there are the people who think that the criteria is not strict enough. They are working on the new DSM diagnostic criteria which will put all the Autism Spectrum disorders under one label. This has parents of higher functioning Autistic and Aspergers kids worried that we'll loose the diagnosis for our children, thus loosing the services necessary for them to succeed in school and in life in general.
What can you do? If you suspect your child has developmental delays, check with your pediatrician. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the results can be for your child. You can support you local Autism Awareness groups. Google them and your local area to find if there is one nearby. I am very fortunate to have an Autism Center in my county where I can get support, services, and education for myself and Jakes.