More children aged 3 and younger are now being treated for autism in Massachusetts, a new study finds.
One in 129 children in Massachusetts born between 2001 and 2005 was enrolled in early intervention programs for an autism spectrum disorder by their third birthday, according to the study.
Over the five-year period, the proportion of children aged 3 and younger getting treated rose from one in 178 among children born in 2001 to one in 108 for those born in 2005 -- a 66 percent increase.
Much of the increase in diagnosis occurred among boys, which increased by 72 percent from 2001 to 2005, compared to about 39 percent among girls, the investigators found.
The study authors said they aren't sure if the reason for the rise is because greater awareness and better availability of services means kids are getting diagnosed and into treatment sooner, or if autism itself is becoming more common.