CDC: Autism Diagnoses on the Rise; Local Institute Provides Insight

By Caleb Yauger

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new reports about autism diagnoses in the United States this week.

In the year 2000, one in 150 children had been diagnosed with autism by age 8.

That proportion as of 2020, the most recent data released by the CDC, has increased to one in 36.

Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, executive vice president of the Barber National Institute in Erie, discussed the significance of these numbers for health professionals.

“We are identifying children at perhaps two-and-a-half or three when it used to be that children did not get identified until they went to kindergarten,” Carey said. “I think just as important is the fact that we as a community, we as parents are much much more informed about autism.”

Carey is also a parent who has a child on the autism spectrum.

Carey writes in her weekly blogs All About Autism, which discusses her thoughts and research on autism, and she discovered that for the first time, diagnoses were more common among Asian, Black and Hispanic children than it was among Caucasian children in the most recent data.

“We know that the earlier the diagnosis, the child can then begin to receive services, resources, and support that the child does significantly need,” Carey said.

Despite the growing awareness, Carey believes that it can still improve and that more accessibility to services is necessary.

“We know about autism, it’s in our backyard,” Carey said. “We need to continue to make the availability of screenings for children, especially in those rural areas. There may be limited physicians or developmental psychologists who are able to do the screenings.”

A link to Dr. Carey’s most recent blog can be found here.

For more information about the Barber National Institute, click here.


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