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October 5th, 2009
06:37 AM ET

Study: More cases of autism in U.S. kids than previously realized

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Children at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, Georgia, receive instruction on March 5, 2009."]

(CNN) - A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics indicates about 1 percent of children ages 3 to 17 have autism or a related disorder, an increase over previous estimates.

"This is a significant issue that needs immediate attention," Dr. Ileana Arias, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. "A concerted effort and substantial national response is warranted."

The study used data from the federal government's 2007 national survey of children's health. The survey of parents was conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration, and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results are based on a national telephone survey of more than 78,000 parents of children ages 3 to 17.

In the study, parents were asked whether a health care provider had ever told them their child had an autism spectrum disorder. ASD is a group of brain disorders comprising autism and two less severe disorders: Asperger's disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Amos Morris

    Here we are, guessing at "what if's" and "who is" instead of attempting to get to the root of the problem. Look back over the years and see when these conditions began to rear their ugly heads in our society (these include autism, alzheimers, cancers, etc.). They all seem to correlate with specific episodes where new pharmaceutical medicines or immunizations were introduced into our culture. Could it be possible that our bodies were not designed to accept this type of invasive procedure (immunizations and even over the counter medicines) and mutates within our own chemistry to produce these disabilities and "deseases" that we are working so diligently through medical intervention to halt?
    Also, if medical practitioners believe it is valuable for a pregnant woman to have an immunization to protect her unborn fetus from desease, then why do our children need to be immunized for anything if the parents were already immunized? Shouldn't their bodies already have the antibodies present in their system through genetics? Could it be possible that the combination of the immunizations that we had as children (I still wonder if those were the ones responsible for the large number of individuals inflicted with alzheimer's and cognitive decline issues today) with the ones we give to our children today are causal factors in the numerous cases of autism, ADHD and ADD that we see today??? Are we supplying our bodies with chemical overkill (let's not even get into the issues revolving around preservatives in our foods, insecticides, pesticides, etc.), and are these the culprets which are ultimately weakening our immunity?
    Seems to me, not enough long term research has been done to demonstrate that immunizations or even over the counter medicines neccissarilly prevent anything, much less whether or not they are the cause of any of our current medical conditions.
    Instead of making new medicines and enforcing our culture to utilize them, shouldn't we be focusing on better understanding of health and prevention?

    October 5, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  2. Gary Stubelick

    Is there any research being done on the negative effects that high levels of stress could have on the fetus during pregnancy? Could there be a correlation between the changing role of moms & future moms in society and the rise in autism?

    All the Best...G

    October 5, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  3. L. E. Burnette

    As both an educator and the parent of a child with Asperger's, I can tell you that we as a society have to put more emphasis on educating these children. Most cannot function in a crowded classroom until they have had years of therapy and special education. However, when they get the help that they need, many can become productive members of society.
    Parents of ASD children receive therapy as well. We had to learn that what works with disciplining 'normal' children is actually detrimental to autistic children. Many of the outbursts of ASD children are not tantrums, but rather meltdowns caused by the frustration of not understanding the situation or being unable to communicate their feelings.
    Finally, we have to educate the public so that ignorant people quit blaming a lack of parenting skills for the problems associated with ASD.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  4. Richard Newman

    No one can legislate to inject anything into anyone. This is a direct violation of the Constitution. Always has been....Always will be.

    October 5, 2009 at 7:04 am |
  5. Jack, Montauk, NY

    Some parents seek out the diagnosis and keep looking until they get it. "Not otherwise specified" are pretty important words, and it gives some people a reason to keep enabling children. Of course, there are severe cases and they are correctly diagnosed. The others? How about some parenting skills.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:52 am |
  6. Diana

    I think what needs to be done for EVERY child enrolling in school is that they should have mandatory testing for things like learning disabilites or speech disorders. Our son went undiagnosed with a condition called CAPD ( Central Auditory Processing Disorder) up until this year. If this had been diagnosed earlier in his life, he wouldn't have had to go through the teasing and low self esteem he suffered for years. He's in 6th grade now, and the school system he's in will work with us to impliment strategies to help him learn more effectively.

    Every child needs testing, and at every crossroads. From the beginning of elementary, middle, and high schools testing needs to be a major factor in preparing kids for the next step in their education. Many children go undiagnosed with things like autism and speech disorders. If these kinds of tests were mandatory, many children would get the help they need, and they would achieve their lifetime goals much easier.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:52 am |