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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

1.7% of kids diagnosed with autism

One in 59 eight-year-olds has autism spectrum disorder, according to a new Centers for Disease Control report.

The rate of autism diagnoses has risen sharply since 200, when one in 150 children were diagnosed with autism, reports Karen Weintraub in USA Today.

The children of educated, affluent white and Asian-American parents are the most likely to be diagnosed with autism, but African-American and Hispanic children are narrowing the gap.

Enrique Duarte, a Los Angeles 12th grader, plays electric, acoustic and bass guitar in a band called “Strange.” He also is a featured performer with Jazz Hands For Autism.

“Autism prevalence among black and Hispanic children is approaching that of white children,” said Stuart Shapira, associate director for science at CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in a statement. “The higher number of black and Hispanic children now being identified with autism could be due to more effective outreach in minority communities and increased efforts to have all children screened for autism so they can get the services they need.”

The CDC found no environmental factors explaining the rise.

Autism rates vary, notes USA Today. “New Jersey diagnosing nearly 3% of its schoolchildren with autism while Arkansas is closer to 1%.”

Were too few children being diagnosed with autism in the past? Or are too many receiving an autism spectrum disorder label now?

Enrique Duarte’s mother fought with the school district to recognize his autism diagnosis, he writes on La Comadre. She homeschooled him until she found a charter school with the flexibility to meet his needs. He’s earned a college scholarship to study music.

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