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Experts report an increase in autism diagnosis



Little Rock, Arkansas – More children than ever before are receiving diagnoses of autism from doctors, and data from the CDC indicates that the condition’s prevalence has increased recently.
We looked more closely at the reasons for the rise and the relative positions of Arkansas and the nation.

Two-year-old Easton is always learning new things to do while he’s not eating or playing.

Just last month, a doctor determined that he has autism, a developmental disease that affects a person’s capacity for interaction and communication.

Easton’s family is currently becoming more knowledgeable about the illness every day.

“I want to do anything I can to help to promote research or inclusion for the kids and just advocating for them,” said Easton’s mom, Hayley Trimble said.

One in every 36 American youngsters is on the autistic spectrum, according to the CDC.
Trimble described how she and Easton’s pediatrician wanted to get him examined because they noticed the symptoms early on.

“Sometimes, he’ll flap his arms, or he’ll play with a toy different than another child. We started noticing some things at around 15 months. [He said] some words and then was regressing, was a little behind on walking and things like that. So she and I talked about just going ahead and getting him into some therapy,” Trimble described.

Trimble’s perspective on Autism Acceptance Month changed this past April as she realized that Easton isn’t the only one dealing with this disorder.

“I’m just wanting to do all I can to help other families. I’ve had friends that reached out with kids close to Easton’s age, and they’re like, hey what were some things that you saw? I think I may be in the same boat with my kid,” Trimble added.

“I think the numbers are definitely increasing,” said Dr. Maya Lopez, who oversees developmental behavioral pediatrics at UAMS.

The evidence supports her. The CDC examined the prevalence of autism in children in eleven states in 2020.

Researchers in Arkansas discovered that, of four-year-olds, one in 62 had been diagnosed with autism, an increase from one in 84 in 2018.

These figures reflect an increase in diagnoses across the country.

“The prevalence estimates from the CDC show us that the numbers have tripled in the past 20 years,” she explained.

Regarding the cause of the rise, Dr. Lopez identifies many crucial elements.

“It is true that we are better at diagnosing, it is true that we have better tools, it is true that more people are aware,” Dr. Lopez said.

Although experts agree that early diagnosis is crucial for children to receive care sooner, raising awareness has created a new issue. Doctors are insufficient to diagnose patients or assist in creating treatment programs.

That can result in a lengthy appointment waiting list.

“I joined UAMS in 2006. At that time, we would have autism evaluations in our center, the Dennis Development Center, three days a week, two patients per day. Six for the whole week. Currently, we have three teams or six kids a day, every day we do it. And we’re still way behind,” she said.

Improved parent awareness is another aspect that may be contributing to the rise in autism diagnosis.

“Parents are more aware of what the symptoms should look like, and they are better reporters,” she added.

Being one of the more conscious parents, Trimble intends to keep speaking up for her kid and other autistic people.

“It affects every family differently and so we’re just diving in, and we’re just going to make the best of every day that we have, you know, and helping him to grow,” Trimble said.


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