NEW YORK (CBS13) – Samantha Remi is learning to read. The seven year old has autism. She was diagnosed at 22 months old.
Sam didn’t have words, but the few sounds that she did have she started getting really quiet. She couldn’t follow directions, she couldn’t make eye contact. She was extremely behavioral.
New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate 1-in-88 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, a 25-percent increase from 2006. Experts say a number of factors may contribute to the increase.
“Better recognition, greater awareness, inclusion of milder cases, and of course, there’s always the possibility that there’s a true rise in incidence; and if there is, that’s something that has to be better investigated,” said Max Wiznitzer of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
Autism disorders are now almost five times more common in boys than girls, affecting 1-in-54 boys compared to 1-in-252 girls.
The study also finds more children are being diagnosed by age three, but 40 percent of kids still aren’t diagnosed until after they’re four.
With both her daughter and her five-year-old son on the autism spectrum, Florence Remi says early intervention made all the difference.
“I have my daughter speaking to me, she understands, she plays. She still throws tantrums and she’s a little bit different than the rest,” said Remi.
She encourages parents to act quickly if they have concerns and says being your child’s biggest advocate is their best hope for the future.