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Today: April 22, 2024

Autism's skyrocketing suicide risk in California

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LA Post: Autism's skyrocketing suicide risk in California
Nahal Garakani
March 04, 2024

Autism makes it difficult for individuals to communicate, express emotions, and perform the same actions repeatedly, and this condition is becoming more prevalent among children. What is occurring, and how can scientists assist these children and their families?

A new study says that autism affects approximately 4% of males and 1% of girls aged 8, according to the study. Twenty years ago, the prevalence was below 1 in 100 children. By 2018, the proportion had surpassed 2 in 100.

There are different numbers of autism in different parts of the United States. Some places have a lot more kids with autism than others. It was found that most people with autism lived in Southern California, especially near San Diego.

About 7 out of every 100 boys who are 8 years old have autism - the highest rate ever recorded in the ADDM Network. New Jersey and Minnesota also had rates well above the national average, while Maryland had the lowest rate among the 11 states studied.

What accounts for these stark regional differences? Experts suggest a combination of factors may be at play. Josephine Shenouda and Walter Zahorodny, two autism researchers from Rutgers University who contributed to the CDC study, note that California, and especially San Diego, have made concerted efforts to screen children early and comprehensively for ASD.

California also has lots of centers that are paid for by the state. These places help kids with autism and their families. Because of this, California might be finding more kids with autism, even ones who don't have it as badly. Other states might not have as much money to look for autism early on.

But even though different states check for autism in different ways, that can't be the only reason why autism is going up everywhere. An expert named Zahorodny says that all kinds of autism, from mild to strong, are increasing in all sorts of people. This makes him think there must be other things making autism more widespread that we don't know about yet.

It's super important to catch autism early. Studies show that getting help when kids are young works best. Doctors say all babies should get checked for autism at 18 and 24 months old. But a lot of kids, especially from poor or minority families, aren't getting diagnosed in time. To fix this, we need to make it easier for everyone to get good testing and treatment.

As more kids get autism, we also have to do more to support people with autism throughout their whole lives. It's key to help little kids, but many folks don't find out they have autism until they're teens or adults. They often have a tough time getting the right assistance and feeling accepted in college, jobs, and everyday life.

Making a world that welcomes all kinds of minds will take a lot of work in many areas. The latest government report shows how big this challenge is. Now, about 1 in every 36 8-year-olds in America is thought to have autism. It's one of the most widespread developmental conditions.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why autism keeps increasing. But right now, we have to focus on making sure every person and family dealing with autism can get the aid and resources they need to live good lives. Only by combining smart research with real dedication to including and empowering everyone can we create a future where every individual, no matter how their brain works, has the chance to be their best self.

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