Autism Spectrum Disorder may be on the rise in the US, with 1 in 68 children now having the condition, according to CDC figures released today. That's a 30% increase from the 1 in 88 number recorded just two years ago, CNN reports. It also means that, according to USA Today, "virtually every grade in every elementary school has at least one child with autism." The study doesn't seek to explain the increase, though bolstered awareness is likely leading to more diagnoses.
"We don't know the extent those factors explain in terms of the increase, but we clearly know they do play a role," says one CDC official. Parents are also having children later in life, which has been shown to increase the risk of autism. New Jersey's rates were particularly high, while in Alabama just 1 in 175 children is diagnosed. The study also showed that the disorder is still being diagnosed late, with the average coming at age 4, even though the disorder is detectable by age 2—or perhaps even earlier than that.