Monday, April 2, 2012

Autism on the Rise Among Blacks and Hispanics

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- New estimates show it affects one in 88 American children — up from one in 110 in 2009 -- according to data collected by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who lead the Alabama Autism Surveillance project, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.
The new findings, released March 29, 2012, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, are based on the 2008 surveillance year, which was completed in 14 ADDM sites. Children who were 8 years old in 2008 were eligible for the study based on criteria that were consistent across all the sites. Information was obtained from children’s evaluation records to determine the presence of autism spectrum disorder symptoms at any time from birth through age 8.
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Since the multi-site surveillance began in 2002, there has been a 78 percent increase in the identification of autism in these selected communities. Martha Wingate, Dr.PH, director of the AASP and associate professor in the UAB School of Public Health, says the increase in autism diagnoses is likely due to multiple factors.

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