One in 40 American children has diagnosed autism, according to a new government study that supports previous research suggesting autism diagnoses have increased in kids in the past 20 years.
Roughly 1.5 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration study released today.
More than one quarter of kids with autism were taking medications and nearly two-thirds had received behavioral treatments to manage symptoms within the last year, researchers found. Children with autism were less likely to receive mental health treatment than children with other behavioral or developmental conditions.
The study was published in Pediatrics and includes data from more than 50,000 children from the 2016 HRSA National Survey of Children’s Health.
“This information can help lead to better access to early intervention services and support for children with autism and their families,” said Stuart Shapira, associate director for science at CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Researchers have struggled to precisely identify the autism prevalence rate, but there’s broad agreement it’s been on the rise. The CDC earlier this year estimated that 1 in 59 U.S. 8-year-olds had been identified as having autism spectrum disorder in 2014.
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