by Alan Zarembo (Los Angeles Times)
Autism is much more common than previously thought, according to a new government report that estimates that 1 in 68 children have some form of the disorder.
Boosting the rate has become a two-year ritual since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set up a surveillance system more than a decade ago. The last estimate, in 2012, was 1 in 88, up from 1 in 110 two years before that.
As in the past, researchers could not say what was driving the increase. While the role of environmental factors remains an open question, rising awareness of the disorder, greater detection and improved access to services have all been shown to be significant factors in the explosive growth in diagnosis over the last two decades.