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New Rochelle Residents Anxious About Autism Increase

New Rochelle resident Bill Tyler, father of two.
New Rochelle resident Craig Jennings was alarmed by the increase in autism diagnoses.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – One in 68 American children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to a recent report by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), and it’s something that has caused New Rochelle residents anxiety.

New data collected from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network has shown a 30 percent spike in autism diagnoses among children in 11 states. As recently as 2006, just one in 110 children were diagnosed with the disorder.

The CDC’s estimate is based on its evaluations of 8 year olds in New Jersey, Missouri, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

New Rochelle resident Craig Jennings said that he believes the uptick in autism diagnoses is the result of improved technology and awareness.

“With the increased technology of today, I’m not surprised they would be able to find, and diagnose earlier and more often than ever,” he said. “And with technology, I’m sure they’ll be able to better manage and help the kids out.”

Eric Courchesne , the director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California in San Diego, said that it is most important for doctors and researchers to understand what is causing the disorder so they can address it. He said the next step in research is to identify the triggers that cause autism.

“One study suggests there could be a genetic cause that could be accounting for what we identified,” he noted. “There’s also the possibility that there could be environmental or maternal intrauterine events that are not genetic that might be involved.”

According to the CDC, the largest increase was seen in children that have above average intelligence. The report states that one in 42 boys have autism, while just one in 189 girls suffer from the disorder.

State Street resident William Tyler, a parent of two, said that he hopes the study may result in more awareness about autism.

“It’s heartbreaking to think of the families and children struggling with this disease, but as more information comes out, hopefully doctors can come up with a solution, right?” he said. “I’d like to think it’s just a matter of time before we can put this behind us.”

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