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Autism on the Rise, Says Federal Report [AUDIO]

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rate of autism in U.S. children has gone up by 30 percent in the last two years, from 1 in 88 then to 1 in 68 now.

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Missing poster for Avonte Oquendo
Missing poster for Avonte Oquendo, 14-year-old NYC boy with autism (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

Eleven states, including New Jersey, were used to gather data on autism. The CDC also took a look at Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

This latest report focused on 8-year-olds, as that is the age by which most cases are diagnosed. The method of study used by the CDC has been in place since 2007, and in that time occurrences of the disorder have become twice as common.

“There’s much more awareness now,” said Suzanne Buchanan, executive director of Autism New Jersey. “There’s much more advocacy by parents, and agencies like Autism New Jersey, to get information out about the earliest symptoms of autism.”

However, Buchanan said part of the increased rate is due to unknown factors, and that is concerning. One theory put forth by health officials is that doctors are diagnosing the disorder more frequently. Autism is not detectable by blood or other tests, which presents another problem.

New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation, but Buchanan said Gov. Chris Christie has helped a great deal with the ongoing fight against autism in the state.

She said New Jerseyans with questions or concerns about autism should contact Autism New Jersey at 1-800-4-AUTISM.

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