A new study, conducted in seven states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finds that the rate of autism in New Jersey has significantly increased in recent years. In that state alone, the number of 4-year-olds with autism increased by 43 percent from 2010 to 2014. Nationally, one in 59 children have autism spectrum disorder. The figure in New Jersey is one in 35.

“This study reflects what we ourselves have seen: that the number of referrals of younger children are going up,” says Dr. Theresa Hamlin, the Associate Executive Director of The Center for Discovery®. “Why this is happening on such a large scale in New Jersey is unclear, but it may be due to the state’s more accurate reporting of data. We continue to urge parents to get their children assessed as early as possible if they suspect anything is wrong. The earlier a child is diagnosed with ASD, the more effective the interventions can be.”

The CDC study concluded on a similar note, saying that continuing improvements in “providing developmental evaluations to children as soon as developmental concerns are identified might result in earlier ASD diagnoses and earlier receipt of services, which might improve developmental outcomes.”

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