Child playing on the sidewalk.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Is autism an increasing problem in children? A government survey conducted by scientists at the National Center for Health Statistics has found that 1 in 45 children aged 3 or older has been diagnosed with autism. This would mean that more than 2 percent of children in the United Stated have been diagnosed with autism and would show an alarming increase in the number of diagnosed cases since the last estimate, which showed that 1 in every 68 children suffered from the disorder.
Although this rise in autism cases is be alarming, scientists are now wondering whether the way in which the data supporting the findings was gathered may have altered the results of the study. The new percentages were announced on Friday and were based on data collected during a 2014 survey.
However, unlike previous surveys given to parents, this survey used a different approach when asking parents questions about autism and changed the order in which the questions were asked. The data collected through the use of this new survey shows that 2 percent of U.S. kids, or 1 in every 45 children, has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
The authors of the study have since wondered whether the change in the survey method could have affected the results of the study. The reason researchers believe that the different survey approach could have altered the data is that the number of children who parents say have a different developmental disorder than autism has significantly decreased.
In the new study, the number of kids who have a different type developmental disorder according to parents has dropped from 4.84% between 2001 and 2013 to 3.57% based on the 2014 data collected. Authors of the study believe this could indicate that parents answering the new survey were selecting autism instead of other disorders because the question related to autism came before questions about other disorders in the new survey.
Researchers cannot be sure for now, as autism is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the child’s behavior and development must be observed over an extended period of time in order to confirm the diagnosis. A study from the Center for Health Statistics proved just how hard it was to successfully diagnose children with the disorder when it showed that 13% of children who were initially labeled as being autistic had their diagnosis changed after later tests.
Overall it does seem that autism cases could be on the rise even if the latest estimate is not accurate. However, director of public health research for Autism Speaks Michael Rosanoff states that while the number of cases may be increasing, the number of requests for help is not.
Image source: www.pixabay.com