(NBC News) The National Center for Health Statistics now says one in forty-five U.S. kids has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder which is dramatically different from previous estimates of one in sixty-eight.
The reason for the increase is believed to be that researchers have changed how they ask parents about their children’s developmental delays.
“What it suggests is, we’re asking questions better. And that people are aware of the diagnosis and using that label and perhaps this is a label or diagnosis that’s being used instead of other diagnoses that may have been used in the past,” said Max Wiznitzer, MD at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
Experts say some families may push for an autism diagnosis to help with getting much-needed services for their children.
“Money follows diagnosis. And there’s a lot more money that’s attached to a diagnosis of autism than there would be to a diagnosis of developmental language disorder,” Wiznitzer said.
As the percentage of autism diagnoses has increased, the percentage of other developmental disabilities has fallen.
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