One in 68 children has autism, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a 30 percent rise over the estimate only two years ago. The “proportion of children with autism and higher IQ (is) on the rise,” said a CDC statement.
“It could be that doctors are getting better at identifying these children, there could be a growing number of children with high intelligence [who are autistic], or it could be both,” said Coleen Boyle director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in a telephone news conference.
Autism rates vary by place. “Only one child in 175 was diagnosed with autism in Alabama, while one in 45 was found to have the disorder in New Jersey,” notes the Washington Post.
The CDC is encouraging parents to have young children screened for autism in their early years. I’d guess high-IQ parents already are doing that.
Autism begins in pregnancy, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers discovered “focal patches of disrupted development” in cortical layers of the brain that are developed during pregnancy.
The brain regions most affected were the frontal cortex, which is associated with complex communication and comprehension of social cues, and the temporal cortex, which is associated with language.