The Latest Autism Statistics and How They May Be Wrong

You probably heard about the latest statistics on the incidence of autism according to research by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The newest ratio is 1 in 68 children, although many believe that number is still too low.

The Terrible Twos are NormalThe research only includes children who have been screened by a healthcare professional or a school, so anyone living without healthcare or doesn’t go to school is not included in the data. This also misses any special needs child who is having “a good day”on testing day as well as parents who were talked out of testing by doctors, teachers or family members.

Despite all the progress that has been made to mainstream special needs children with autism or other conditions, many cultures still tend to ignore or deny these conditions. While they may fool themselves into thinking they are preserving their family’s “honor” or whatever they want to call it, this attitude robs the children of the crucial early intervention that could literally change the course of their future.

Autism Speaks has produced some beautiful PSAs with the Ad Council that target certain communities and educate the public about the early signs of autism. I hope other advocacy groups will come forward with similar encouragement so that all challenges will be allowed to come out of hiding and given the chance to fulfill as much potential as possible. I hope we can erase all the stigmas one day.


Editors Note: excerpted from Autism Speaks…(some of the early signs mentioned above)

The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

One additional resource worth checking: This fall, Autism Parenting Magazine released an updated post and guide on the Signs of Autism in Girls. You can check out the article here.

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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