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Autism May Be More Common Than Thought
Date:10/5/2009

U.S. government study estimates that 1 of every 91 children is affected,,,,,,,,

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- While research has suggested that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in American children was about 1 of every 150 children, a new government study estimates that the prevalence is more likely about 1 in every 91 children.

The study, which is published in the October issue of Pediatrics, estimated that 110 of every 10,000 U.S. youngsters will be diagnosed at some point in their lives with an autism spectrum disorder. That currently translates to about 673,000 American children with some form of autism, according to the study.

"I think this is a very important study that says the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders may be even higher than we suspected previously," said Geraldine Dawson, chief scientific officer of Autism Speaks.

"Autism is a major public health challenge, and this study is another call to action that we need to be able to provide care across the lifespan," she said.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder. Severity varies from child to child.

Characteristic behavior includes impaired social interaction, difficulty with communication and repetitive behaviors. Over a lifetime, health-care costs for someone with autism are estimated to be more than $1.6 million, according to the study.

The researchers culled data for the study from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, which included more than 78,000 children from across the country, all between 3 and 17 years old.

Parents of 1,412 children reported that a doctor had given their child a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Only 913 parents, however, said their child currently had an autism spectrum disorder.

Of that group, 494 parents classified the
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