COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A new report by the Centers for Disease Control shows an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism.
The study also reveals the rate of autism in minority children is also on the rise and increasing quickly.
In 2020, the year of the latest data, one out of every 36 children in the United States was diagnosed with autism. That’s up from one in 44 children in 2018, and one in 150 children in 2000.
While some may find those statistics concerning, a chief psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital said this doesn’t necessarily mean there are more cases, but that clinicians are identifying autism more frequently using modern tools.
“As we increase awareness, we increase sensitivity to identify autism rates in our broader population,” said Dr. Eric Butter, chief of psychology for Nationwide Children’s. “If we are looking for it more often and with better diagnostic tools, we, of course, are going to find more autism.”
According to the CDC report, Asian, Black, and Hispanic communities are also seeing a higher percentage of 8-year-olds with autism.
Butter said the improved testing practices combined with a push for more equity and inclusion in health care contributed to those increased numbers.