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The CDC study surveyed 11 states where rates varied from 1 in 45 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in New Jersey to 1 in 175 children in Alabama. While the rate has been surging over the last decade, there is no definitive explanation behind the increase. Experts believe some of it may be due to better detection, but better diagnosis alone doesn’t explain everything. Researchers continue to study the link between ASD and genetics.
Autism Spectrum Disorder can range from social awkwardness to severe impairment, including an inability to communicate. Symptoms often surface early in childhood development. Signs to look out for include whether a baby isn’t smiling by six months of age or pointing to objects by 12 months. Preliminary research suggests early intervention may be key in helping ease symptoms.