CDC report: 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with an autism - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

CDC report: 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- A new report from Centers for Disease Control shows the number of children with autism has significantly increased.

The report indicates that one in 68 American children has autism. That's a 30 percent increase from just two years earlier, when a CDC report said one in 88 children had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

The new report also shows a higher prevalence among boys, with the rate at one in 42. For girls, it's one in 189.

Despite greater awareness and attention, there are still no answers to what's behind these numbers and whether autism is actually on the rise.

"I'm afraid there's not going to be a simple answer," Rob Ring, Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer, said. "There's not a single explanation. It's likely to be many different things."

Experts point to an increase in awareness that's driving more families to act on concerns and ask questions. There's also been an improvement in identifying warning signs.

There are no blood or medical tests for autism, instead doctors provide an assessment based on a child's behavior, communication and social interactions. Symptoms usually appear by age two.

The advocacy group Autism Speaks will launch a month of awareness on April.

Autism advocates were on Capitol Hill Thursday pushing lawmakers to develop a national strategy so families can get the support they need.
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