Study Finds Children From Affluent Communities More Likely to Be Diagnosed With Autism

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A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) finds that autism rates have skyrocketed among young children. Analyzing data between 2000 and 2016, researchers found that Autism Spectrum Disorder with intellectual disability (ASD-I) diagnoses had doubled. ASD without intellectual disability (ASD-N) had increased by 500%.

Awareness, Early Intervention May Be the Reasons for Increased Autism Rates

The study didn’t point to any lifestyle factors that have caused the increase in autism. Rather, they chalked it up to increase societal awareness about the disorder. This has led to parents, teachers, and doctors doing more screening and looking for specific signs.

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Autism, or ASD, is a spectrum disorder which means that some people exhibit or experience it in higher or lower amounts. Signs can include social interaction behaviors, learning behaviors, restrictive or repetitive behaviors, and physiological symptoms. Having a family member with ASD increases a person’s chance of also having it.

For people with ASD-N, getting a diagnosis could be more difficult. Additionally, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD, especially the type without intellectual disability.

Children From Affluent Communities More Likely to Be Diagnosed With ASD

According to the study, children from wealthier areas are believed to have a higher chance of being diagnosed than those from underserved areas. This is likely because an autism diagnosis usually requires working with an expert who is trained to analyze child development. That requires resources, which Here on the Spectrum estimates can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 without insurance.

Even with insurance, it can be difficult for some families to find the time to bring their kids to specialists if they’re working 9-5. Hence, it’s advisable to utilize whatever resources you have if you suspect you or a family member may have autism.  

The AAP recommends that all children be screened specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month screenings. It’s usually easier to spot ASD after the age of 2, due to other causes for certain behaviors being ruled out. About 1 child out of every 44 is thought to have some form of autism.

But adults can be diagnosed with ASD, too. The Autism Research Institute has put together several resources for adult autism screening and support if you’re interested in learning more.  

Read More: Teachers Arrested For Locking Students with Autism in Dark Bathroom

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