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Friday, March 30, 2012 - 10:35am
More American children are now considered to be autistic, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The numbers released by the CDC show one in 88 children has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder. Among boys it is 1 in 54.
Just 3 years ago, 1 in 110 children were diagnosed with autism disorders. The new number show a 23-percent jump from 2006-2008.
The largest increases among Hispanic and African-American children.
The cause remains a mystery, but according to Dr. James McPartland from the Yale Study Center, the increase might be explained by better diagnosis.
"The way we diagnose autism spectrum disorder has changed. We're more inclusive. We include people with more cognitive ability and less severe problems then we have in the past," he said.
The study shows the average age of diagnosis is four years old, but experts said they are hoping to get children diagnosed by eighteen months to give them a head start on treatment.