(CNN) – Diagnosis rates for autism in children have tripled in less than 20 years, according to new research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Researchers at Rutgers University looked at diagnosis rates among 8-year-olds in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.
They found that between 2000 and 2016, the rate of being diagnosed with autism tripled.
One reason for the high diagnosis rate may be the growing awareness of autism among the general public.
There are also better tools for diagnosing autism and more education about it. Physicians have improved their ability to identify cases of autism without intellectual disability, i.e. children with average or above average IQ who exhibit characteristics of autism, such as deficits in social skills.
These cases are traditionally less obvious to parents, teachers, and doctors than those of children with intellectual disabilities.
According to a 2021 CDC report, 1 in 54 children were diagnosed with autism by the age of 8 in 2016, compared to 1 in 150 in 2000.
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