A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 1 in 50 school age children has autism, a figure that is much higher than a recent government estimate of 1 in 88 children. The new numbers are based on data from a national phone survey of more than 95,000 parents.
"This study is clearly showing us that we are still underestimating the prevalence of autism here in the U.S.," says Associate Director Michael Rosanoff.
Health experts say the new estimate doesn't necessarily mean autism is rising but suggests that doctors are diagnosing the disorder more often, especially in older children with milder cases.
"While this study is showing us that prevalence is increasing in part because we're getting better at identifying cases, the cases are still being identified too late," says Rosanoff.
Experts say if you have any concerns about your child's development talk to your pediatrician because early intervention is key. Don't push it aside because the earlier you can get the help the better off your child will be.