The disorder now affects roughly 1.2 million children and teens in the United States. The report also highlights autism is almost five times more common among boys than girls.
While the disorder can be diagnosed as early as age 2, most children aren't diagnosed until age 4. Parents are urged to speak to their doctor right away if they have concerns about their child's development. The earlier the child is diagnosed, the earlier intervention can take place. A checklist for parents can be found here.
According to the CDC report, the state of Alabama has the lowest prevalence of autism with 1 in every 175 children diagnosed with the disorder. New Jersey has the highest prevalence with 1 in 45 children diagnosed with autism.
The disparity could be due to different reporting methods used by each state.