Autism rates in children on the rise - - Jackson, MS

Autism rates in children on the rise

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control holds troubling news for the autism community.

The rate of autism among children in the US is growing. But why? And what does that mean for parents and teachers in the metro? 

Jingle Alimot knew something was different with her second daughter, Elizabeth, but didn't know what it was.

"She only started calling me 'Mommy' when she was four or five years old. She would not talk. She was nonverbal. If she wanted a drink of water, she would just look at the water and cry. You know, that was so hard for me."

When Elizabeth was diagnosed, Jingle said autism rates were 1 in 250 children. It's now 1 in 68.

Sobering news for Dr. Rebecca Mullican, who founded the Jackson Autism Center.

"Almost anybody that I come into contact with can say, 'I have a cousin with autism' or 'I have a best friend whose child has autism.'"

But why are those numbers increasing?  

"People are seeing the signs and symptoms in their children more. I think there's also some misdiagnosis and over diagnosis going on. I also do think there's something environmental going on, but it's not just autism. Look at cancer rates. Cancer rates are one in three now."

And experts say it's hard to reduce those rates...if they don't know what's causing it. More funding and research is key, Dr. Mullican says, but only part of the solution.

"We have to also really focus on the individuals with autism who are already here. We need to advocate, we need to educate, and also help with intervention."

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