Latest reports show increase in autism cases - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Latest reports show increase in autism cases


According to a recent report, autism is on the rise among children between the ages of 3 and 17.

The Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Health statistics show a large jump of autism cases of children; what used to be one in 68 children between 2011-2013 with autism has jumped to one in 45 in 2014.

Clinical instructor, Kirsten Schaper works center for autism spectrum disorders at SIU.

She mentioned the numbers were collected through a questionnaire, asking parents if anyone had told them their child has autism spectrum disorder.

Also changes in the questionnaire format could skew the high increase.

Schaper said of the children who are referred to their office of having autism, 90 percent do not have the disorder.

“The might have an intellectual disability, ADHD, maybe just a language processing disorder," she explained. "And a lot of these things can look like autism to practitioners that are not familiar with the disorder. And diagnosing autism disorder is very complex. You do need to do a lengthy diagnostic with the child and a parent interview to find out what’s going on in the home and other environments.”

Schaper says there are are two majors areas clinical instructors look at when diagnosing autism, the first is deficits in social communication.

"So does your child exhibit appropriate reciprocal interaction skills, do they talk on a topic that you've introduced? Do they use appropriate non-verbal behaviors like eye contact or gestures? Do they have appropriate relationships with same-age peers? Are they able to engage in pretend play with toys or use creative comments," Schaper said.

The second major area is repetitive or stereotype behaviors than line up with autism spectrum disorder.

Schaper says autism is easy to recognize in young children if they have more significant impairments.

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