News

    Study: Autism on the Rise Among US Children

    Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, New York, March 28, 2012.
    Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was recently diagnosed with a mild form of autism, New York, March 28, 2012.
    Jessica Berman

    The number of American children diagnosed with autism has been increasing steadily -- from one-in-110 youngsters in 2006 to one-in-88 in 2008. The findings are based on a new study by the U.S. government that looked at the prevalence of autism, a developmental disorder that usually appears in the first few years of life and affects brain development and communication skills.

    Autism shows up as a range of behaviors. Some children have a mild version, called Asperger’s syndrome, that makes them seem awkward in social settings. Others are severely affected, with extreme social and communication difficulties marked by repetitive behaviors and withdrawal from contact with other people.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in Atlanta, assessed surveillance data about 8-year-old children from fourteen states that was collected in 2008. It found that for every 1,000 children, more than 11 were diagnosed with autism. According to the CDC, almost five times as many boys were affected -- 1 in 54.

    CDC Director Thomas Frieden says the increase in reported autism cases might be due to improved recognition of the disorder.

    "Doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the condition," said Frieden. "Communities have gotten better at providing services, so at this point I think there is the possibility of that the increase in identification is entirely the result of better detection."

    Because autism usually appears in the first three years of life, the CDC is calling for early and frequent screenings of children, beginning at 18 months of age, and again at 24 and 30 months of age.

    Susan Hayman, who heads the autism subcommittee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said waiting until a child is 4 years old to be evaluated for autism is too late, because early therapeutic intervention can help affected children learn to lead relatively normal lives.

    “Children who aren’t pointing, who aren’t making eye contact with communication may have autism, but they may have other things," said Hayman, explaining that parents should immediately seek diagnosis if they notice certain behaviors in toddlers. "It’s important for parents who have concerns to bring them up."

    The leading autism advocacy group in the United States, Autism Speaks, has said the developmental disorder knows no boundaries, and the group estimates about 67-million people around the world are affected by autism.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: maharet
    April 10, 2012 7:24 AM
    Correlation is not causation. Anti-vaxxers, I'm looking at you and the numerous studies which consistently disprove and discredit the original hypothesis.
    Nor is overdiagnosis of an illness which may in fact be lazy parenting or the awkward end of the normal personality quirk range.

    by: Hasan Ekim
    April 02, 2012 9:49 PM
    I have an autistic child, ten years old.He has learned English at beginner level. When he has seen an American tourist, he says hello, well come to Turkey. He had read Obama's article related to autism in VOA and he made a research related to Obama in internet. He asked me, Is this man our relatives?

    by: SnowballSolarSystem
    March 29, 2012 1:27 PM
    CDC: 78% increase in autism rates since 2002

    If we're looking for a change in this time frame, perhaps we ought to examine the secret surveillance program rolled out in 1999 for tracking sex offenders by scanning pedestrians from aircraft using Synthetic Aperture Radar (weather radar) and acoustic imaging.

    Perhaps either the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) microwaves or the acoustic camera ultrasonics are damaging to neural development of toddlers.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora