More Children Diagnosed With Autism In California: Number Of Autistic Students Jumped To 6,500 In Recent Years

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald July 20, 04:24 am

More children are being diagnosed with autism in California. Latest special education data from the California Department of Education found that there's a seven percent increase in autistic children in recent years.

Autism In California

The seven percent increase represents around 6,500 autistic children, which were recorded from 2014-15 and 2015-16, The Sacramento Bee reported. The highest number of autistic children that occurred last year was among kindergartners, rising by 17 percent. At the moment, more than one of every 65 kindergarten pupils in California is autistic.

According to figures released by the government of California, the number of autistic students has increased between 5,000 and 7,000 annually statewide. Nationwide, one of 68 children are living with an autism spectrum disorder, with the condition four to five times more common among boys than girls, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated.

In 2010, California scientists found 10 clusters in the state that have twice as many autistic children, Scientific American reported from Environmental Health News. That includes the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, where many highly educated parents and families live.

What Causes Autism?

The definite cause of autism is still unknown, but doctors are conducting studies about the matter. Researchers from the University of California found that there's a link between autism and education. They believe that highly educated parents' access to services contributes to autism findings.

Other factors like environmental exposures play a role as well. The Study to Explore Early Development, or SEED, aims to identify the genetic factors, environmental exposures, and pregnancy aspects that could raise the risk of autism in children.

Chemicals that may increase autism risk are pesticides, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, lead, and brominated flame retardants. These are all neurodevelopmental toxicants, which have the capacity to alter a brain's development.

There are also suspicions that phthalates, which are used in cosmetics and vinyl, contribute to autism. Others believe that synthetic hormones like estrogen, progestin, and corticosteroids cause autism, as what we previously reported.

Children with autism struggle with communication and social interactions. The California Lutheran University helps tackle this by opening a center, which will teach autistic kids how to communicate using keyboards and letter boards, or any other communication method that best suits the child, The VC Star listed.

The center also plans to carry out workshops and support policies that promote inclusion of autistic children. Moreover, they plan to conduct a study on which communication methods are most effective in children with autism.

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