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.
While the report was not designed to say why children are diagnosed with autism, it does suggest a heightened awareness of the disease. However, the report also supports the idea that children are still being diagnosed too late in their lives. According to the study, the average age of diagnosis was over age four, despite the fact that autism can be diagnosed by age two. Because ASD is a lifelong disorder, early diagnosis is crucial for individuals to overcome challenges.
This ultimately raises concerns about access to affordable and approachable education and care. While the general public is aware of ASD, it is up to organizations like Capitol Care South to truly explain the disorder and offer transparent, professional services. We believe that the public must be informed of problems associated with ASD and other developmental disorders at the earliest stages possible to ensure that family members lead a rich and fulfilling life.
At Capitol Care South, we look beyond the numbers. We realize that behind these studies are individual children and families that need our personalized help. We are here to offer the best services that a Birmingham mental health care program can provide. At Capitol Care South, we work with individuals to implement skills that are important for a rewarding life. If your family is affected by ASD or any other developmental disorder, we urge you to contact us.