Expert: Uptick in autism diagnosis may be linked to greater awareness

Estimated autism prevalence 2023
Estimated autism prevalence 2023(PRNewswire)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 4:55 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The number of children being diagnosed with autism is on the rise across the nation. According to data from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, about 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Chrissy Barosky, the Chief Clinical Officer at Bierman Autism Centers, says it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why there is an uptick in the number of children diagnosed with autism. However, she says more children could be diagnosed with autism because there is a greater sense of awareness, which leads to early detection.

Barosky says parents may notice as early as the infant stage but oftentimes the signs are apparent around 18-months-old. Those signs could include delays in communication, a lack of social interaction and repetitive patterns of behavior. She says she is glad that kids are being tested early and families are seeking treatment. It does, however, place a high demand on the organizations that help those families.

It is still not clear what causes autism and researchers are working to learn more about prevention and treatment. Barosky says early detection is key and highlighted the importance of connecting resources and agencies that can help families navigate the challenges of autism.