In March 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that one in 68 U.S. children are born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This estimate, based on the CDC’s evaluation of health and educational records of 8-year-olds in 11 states, marks a 30% increase from two years ago. While these numbers are not representative of the entire country, the new data does shed light on the way that we approach ASD and localized Birmingham mental health.
More than 5,300 children were involved in this study, which analyzed characteristics of ASD including co-occuring conditions and developmental and intellectual disabilities. The increase in numbers suggests a changing perspective of ASD. According to Dr. Gary Goldstein, president and CEO of the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University, the study of autism now includes high-functioning children—not just those with intellectual disabilities. This suggests that autism has come to include children with more diverse social and behavioral patterns.