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.

  1. Kelly says:

    If one in 88 children was in different stages of vision loss starting at age two, I know there would be more people assisting these individuals and families. Autism is a real disorder, it comes in many shapes and sizes, but it impacts millions of people and their families in ways no one can imagine unless you are living it.
    I am sure that people will say this is due to misdiagnosis, or inflated stats, I am guessing these are the same people who have no contact with people on the spectrum. I have two girls with ASD and it is a reality. I don’t know what will happen day to day, year to year, and certainly when they are adults. I hope this is a call to action for people to educate, support, and accept people with autism. More needs to be done.

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