More UK autism cases than thought

From correspondents in London,20797,19785180-5003402,00.html

This article from : Reuters

AUTISM and related disorders in Britain may be twice as widespread as
previously thought, according to research published today.

The study showed that 116 in every 10,000 children suffer from autism
or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The previous estimate was 44 per

"Prevalence of autism and related ASD is substantially higher than
previously recognised," said Professor Gillian Baird, of Guy's and St
Thomas' Hospital in London.

"Whether the increase is due to better ascertainment, broadening
diagnostic criteria, or increased incidence is unclear."

The cause of autism, which usually develops before the age of 30
months, is unknown. In some cases it is apparent from birth. Children
with the condition become withdrawn, self-absorbed, are often unable
to communicate and do not follow normal patterns of development.

The condition is more prevalent among boys than girls.

ASDs are developmental disorders characterised by different degrees of
impairment in communication and social skills and repetitive patterns
of behaviour.

The researchers calculated the new estimates by looking at cases of
autism and ASDs in children aged nine and 10 in south London in 2001.
They studied children with all forms of ASD and children with special
educational needs.

The study published in The Lancet medical journal revealed 39 children
per 10,000 had autism and 77 per 10,000 had ASD.

"Services in health, education and social care will need to recognise
the needs of children with some form of ASD, who constitute one per
cent of the child population," Prof Baird said in the study.