STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • One in 88 U.S. kids thought to be autistic, CDC says; for boys it's 1 in 54
  • Why? Better, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and "50% of 'We don't know," expert says.
  • Advocate: There is an epidemic of autism in the United States.
  • Autistic teen Frankie Sanders shows benefits of early detection

(CNN) -- The number of children with autism in the United States continues to rise, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest data estimate that 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder. That's a 78% increase compared to a decade ago, according to the report.

Since 2000, the CDC has based its autism estimates on surveillance reports from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Every two years, researchers count how many 8-year-olds have autism in about a dozen communities across the nation. (The number of sites ranges from six to 14 over the years, depending on the available funding in a given year.)

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The Foundation for Autism Care, Education and Services (FACES) is a non-profit, 501c3 foundation. FACES is dedicated to raising funds to directly support and promote ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, education, services and treatment for children with Autism and their families.

On February 8, 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the latest revised prevalence figures for autism. The report indicates that the prevalence of autism is now 1 in 150, up from the 1 in 166 reported in January of 2004.

Families can spend over $100,000 per year for a child with autism. Most insurance companies do not cover these costs or early intervention or specialized programs.

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