WASINGTON, D.C. – One child of every 68 born in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder. That’s according to the latest CDC review of records in 11 states, with the lowest concentration in Alabama (1 in 175), and the highest in New Jersey (1 in 45).
These numbers are 30% higher than just two years ago, so what’s with the spike?
Deborah Pearson, professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UTHealth Medical School says, “I think part of it is that we’re better able to identify these children, and we’re identifying them at an earlier age.”
But what that doesn’t account for is the gender gap. These results show that boys are four and a half times more likely to be born with autism than girls. Pearson explains that “We really don’t know the answer to that. We do know that many times boys are more vulnerable to a variety of developmental conditions than girls.”
Boy or girl, the key to treatment is early diagnosis. The earlier a child is diagnosed the more effective treatments are available to help communication and developmental skills.
And overcoming those challenges could give us the next Mozart, Warhol, or Einstein, who all left their mark on the world despite their autism.