The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the U.S. may have reached a plateau

Despite previous surveys that show a steady increase in the frequency of autism spectrum disorder in U-S children, it appears to have stabilized , according to a new report.

Data from the National Health Interview Survey, which polls American households about a variety of conditions, show the frequency of autism among children and adolescents was stable from 2014-2016.

Researchers from the University of Iowa found that 2.41 percent of U.S. children and teens had a form of autism between 2014 and 2016. that prevalence rose slightly over the three-year period — from 2.24% in 2014 to 2.41% in 2015 and then 2.58% in 2016. but that wasn't enough to be considered statistically significant.

Chris Gunter with with the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta agrees with the findings. "This says we are doing a good job in educating both parents and practitioners about what to look for in ASD," says Gunter.

Andrew Anderson's 4 year old son , Brighton has been diagnosed with autism. He says, "I'd say the hardest thing is not having a child with autism , but the people around you and how they react to that."

Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that about 1 in 68 children in the United States is autistic , this includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.

Iowa researchers said more work will be needed to determine whether changes in environmental risks, diagnostic criteria, public awareness or other factors are behind the apparent end to a decade-long increase.

Photo Courtesy of  the Marcus Autism Center. Find our more about childhood autism here. 

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