Atlanta – Controversy has landed in the medical field. Studies that find an increasing number in children with autism could be based on an unanswerable question: are there more children with autism or is there a change in the way the Unites States collects that information?
According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014, one out of 68 children is believed to have autism. However, new studies that rearrange the order of the questions asked to the parents regarding the possibility of their child having autism changes the rate to one out of 45. In 2012, the numbers were 30 percent higher.
The study consisted on the CDC asking 11 thousand families whether their child had been diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome or pervasive development disorders. To which 1 in 45 children, ages 3 to 17, were considered to have autism in contrast with the annual surveys of 2011 to 2013 which found rates of 1 in 80.
Because diagnosing autism is challenging, authors of the reports are wondering if the change of the survey methods has an effect on the numbers. There are no blood samples or swab testing to diagnose autism, for which doctors rely on the child’s behavior and development according to the parents. The experts believe that the ciphers have diminished from 2001 to 2013 due to parents selecting autism contrary to other development disorders because questions regarding autism were asked first.
In order to show how ambiguous the diagnoses can be, a study from the Center for Health Statistics found that 13 percent of the children lost their diagnosis after further tests. Around 74 percent of the parents believed the reversals were due to new information such as new development that show better social or language skills.