There is an alarming sharp increase in Autism in children around the world. But, recent surveys in both in Israel and New Jersey show some of sharpest increases yet.
The Social Affairs Ministry’s survey of social services for 2011 shows a 5x increase in incidence of the Autism in Israel over the last 8 years. The number of those diagnosed with Autism increased from 1,507 in 2004 to 7,344 in 2011, about 1,000 new cases each year. This trending increase in Israel is higher than those born abroad. One statistic the survey in Israel conveys is that nearly 50 percent of the children diagnosed with Autism, live in families in which, according to the social workers’ assessment, there are problems in parental functioning, including addiction. It also indicates that 40 percent of the children live in families where the parents suffer from illnesses and disabilities.
New Jersey’s autism rate nearly doubled in four years, according to new research published December 17, 2012 elaborating on previous national studies. And according to researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, of the 8-year-old children in four samples from New Jersey counties, 1 in 57 had autism in 2006, compared with 1 in 94 just four years earlier. New Jersey’s autism rate is among the highest in the nation.
Boys were five times more likely than girls to have autism in the 2006 study, a widening gap for which scientists have not yet found a cause. Whites were more likely than any other group to be diagnosed, but all groups and both genders showed major increases in the rate of autism from 2002 to 2006.
This study was published six months after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a prevalence study based on 2008 data from one New Jersey county. The 2008 national monitoring study reported that New Jersey had a rate of one in 49 children with autism, surpassed only in Utah.
People with autism have lifelong care and education needs, and these prevalence studies and others across the world provide important information for policymakers as they allocate research and treatment funds. Early treatment, when a child’s brain is still developing, will offer the best chance for maximizing their potential.