A recent survey has found an increased number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, however researchers believe that the increase is due to the presentation of the questions in the survey.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey, over 2.2% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have autism. This translates to one in 45, an increase from the rate of one in 80 people in 2011 to 2013.
The CDC report describes autism as a developmental disability, however some people with autism regard themselves as different, not disabled.
According to Katherine Walton, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, the increase in autism rates suggests that parents are using different labels in the description of their children than had been used in earlier years. Professor Walton was not involved in the new study.
The number of parents who reported developmental disabilities in general remained constant at around 5.75%. The number reporting children with “other developmental delays” went down.