New report suggests as many as one in 68 U.S. kids may have autism
Thursday, April 03, 2014 - 02:03
April 3 - As U.S. health officials report one in 68 American kids may have autism, one family shares how it copes with caring for their autistic child. Mana Rabiee reports.
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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY IS BEING RESENT WITH CORRECT NAME PRONUNCIATION
Five-year-old Noble has autism.
His mother, Heather, says he struggles to be understood because his speech is severely impaired.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEATHER ROGERO, MOTHER OF AUTISTIC CHILD, SAYING:
"He still doesn't even register between one and two (years old) and his approximations aren't real clear."
Sister Anna loves to play with Noble but realizes, too, he's different.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANNA ROGERO, SISTER OF AUTISTIC CHILD, SAYING:
"Say you wanted him to smell a flower, he would smell it, and then pull it apart, so it's very fun to play with him, but there are some things that he doesn't, he's not quite like other children."
For families like the Rogero's (Pronounced RO-HE-RO's) in Arlington, Virginia, raising an autistic child can feel like a lonely battle.
But a new report suggests they're anything but alone.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control now estimates that as many as one in 68 American children may have autism.
That's up from one in 88 children in 2008 and one in 150 kids in 2000.
Dr. Lauren Kenworthy heads the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Children's National Medical Center in Maryland.
Like other experts, she says the new numbers don't necessarily mean increasing prevalence of autism.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. LAUREN KENWORTHY, DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, SAYING:
"That's actually a really good thing, right? So there are a lot of kids who had autism in the past who didn't get recognized. And now, we're all looking much more aggressively in schools, and pediatrician's office and places like that for cases of autism and that's part of why we're seeing more cases."
There's another silver lining in the new report.
A decade ago, only a third of autistic children were identified as having average or above-average IQ levels.
Today, it's almost half of the children.
Reports about high rates of autism are increasing awareness of the disorder.
And helping make families with autism feel less alone.
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