Autism diagnosis rate more than doubles in 10 years - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Autism diagnosis rate more than doubles in 10 years

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The diagnosis rates forautism spectrum disorder are climbing at a staggering rate. In the year 2000,Centers for Disease Control data showed 1 in 150 children was diagnosed with thedisorder. Just a decade later in 2010, recently released data shows the ratehas increased to 1 in 68.

Boys are more than fourtimes more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. One in 42 male childrenwill be diagnosed. For females, the number is 1 in 168.

Toledo Doctor Emily Haymandeveloped what is called Neuroflex yoga, a type of yoga designed specificallyfor children with autism.

Hayman says instances ofthe disorder are not necessarily increasing at that rate. Part of the increasecould be due to better education about autism and autism spectrum disorder.

"Because the public ismore aware of what the signs and symptoms are, it's being diagnosed more easilynow," said Hayman.

Hayman also has an explanationfor the gender imbalance.

"Boys are 4 times morelikely to have autism than girls, and a lot of that is just the way the genesare passed on," said Hayman.

The same CDC report whichrevealed 1 in 68 children is being diagnosed found another problem. The CDCsays children are being diagnosed with the disorder too late. The averagediagnosis age, according to the report, is 4-years-old. Autism spectrumdisorder can be diagnosed as early as 2-years-old.

Hayman says this lost timeis crucial, and can have a major effect on the child.

"The brain starts to myelinatebetween the ages of birth and 8. So the closer you get to 8 years old the lessable you are to change those neuropathways," said Dr. Hayman. "Children withautism learn skills in a very different way than their typically developingpeers because everything needs to be broken down into task analysis and intosmall steps so the way we need to teach them is very different. So if we can dothat at a very early age then they are able to progress and live happyindependent lives with just a little bit of a support network that they need."

Parents should be aware ofthe warning signs their child may have autism spectrum disorder. The mostobvious red flag is a lack of eye contact. Another sign is social delays;children with autism often prefer to play alone. Hayman says parents should alsopay attention to how their children interact with their toys.

"Sometimes you'll seechildren with autism playing with cars or trucks or whatever and they'll linethem up in rows and they'll do things that are sort of OCD behaviors. So they'lldo those things instead of playing with them on highways or crashing themtogether," said Hayman.

There are several theoriesabout what could cause this disorder. The most controversial of those theoriesis that autism is caused by vaccines. Numerous studies have refuted thattheory. Accordingto the American Academy of Pediatrics "research has been conducted on allof these topics, and the studies continue to find vaccines to be a safe andeffective way to prevent serious disease."

The Centersfor Disease Control says "there is not a causal relationship betweencertain vaccine types and autism."

Hayman agrees.

"The chemical that was invaccines has been taken out since 1999 so that's been tossed out the window,"said Hayman.

Doctor Hayman pointsto some of the most recent research, which links autism with maternal fetalconditions

"A couple studies haveshown elevated levels of testosterone, progesterone and cortical in utero andthat's being linked to a higher autism diagnosis. This is important becausematernal stress is becoming more common," said Hayman.

There is also growingdefinition of what autism is and what the disability covers. The CDC study foundnearly half of children with an autism spectrum disorder have average or above averageintellectual ability, that is, an IQ above 85, compared with one third ofchildren a decade ago.   

Hayman says misdiagnosescould also be partially responsible for the spike, as many symptoms of thedisorder are similar to those of ADAD.

Toledo News Now is giving you a chance to Be a Hero for Autismthis weekend. Find out more here:http://www.toledonewsnow.com/category/138507/give-autism-the-boot-2014

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