Parent of Child with Autism Responds to New Government Survey

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 1 in 50 children has autism.

That number is up when compared to other estimates, but it doesn't necessarily mean that autism is happening more frequently.

Marybeth Clarke, with the Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership said that these new numbers feel more accurate to her.

This new estimate would mean at least 1 million kids have autism.

Clarke has been following the statistics since her daughter was diagnosed three and a half years ago and the numbers keep growing.

The earlier government survey estimated 1 in 88 children, and that was based on medical and school records.

This survey was from a national phone survey, with people interviewing more than 95,000 parents.

In Clarke's opinion, the phone survey could be more accurate because it's not limiting data to a specific age group.

Her daughter goes to Stone Spring Elementary School and has access to speech therapy and other resources.

Clarke said the new estimate also shows how much of a need there is in schools and other areas.

"There's one in 50 right now. Hello, there are a lot of people in need. So you know we need the infrastructure, we need the funding, we need the research, we need the services," Clarke said.

Clarke said these new statistics help to get the word out about autism in general.

Clarke said the phone survey could be more accurate, because it's not limiting data to a specific age group

Diagnoses vary, so that can mean age eight or older and can include kids who have Aspergers Disorder or milder forms of autism.

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