Health officials have some news about autism for us: autism cases are on the rise, but it's largely due to wider screenings and better diagnosis, and rates of autism are actually higher among Latino children.

The new estimates indicate that about 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is affected by autism and related disorders. But the numbers are higher for Latino children, with the CDC estimating that the largest increases happened here.

It is difficult to diagnose autism in minority children, so increased awareness is great news for parents who wonder if their children might be affected. Thanks to better data, their chances of getting answers to their questions and concerns are much improved.

Read more ¿Qué más? Autism in minority children is not detected early enough.

Although government officials aren't sure why the numbers of autism are increasing and the search for a cause is only beginning, advocacy groups are pushing for more money for research and services for those affected with autism.

The CDC says that greater rates of autism in minorities is "due to greater awareness and better identification in these groups." The new awareness and identification is good for any group, in particular Latinos, as more research may be able to answer why the numbers are increasing specifically among our children.

USA Today reports that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is currently studying the causes of autism:

Genetics is believed to play a role. Some parents and others have believed childhood vaccines trigger autism, even though many studies have not found a connection. CDC researchers are looking at other possible factors, including illnesses that mothers had while they were pregnant with children who later were diagnosed as autistic. The researchers also are looking into medications that the pregnant women took and those given to their children took when they were young. The first results of that study are expected next year.

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Although autism has never touched my life, I think that better diagnosis can only lead to a greater understanding of the disease. We still don't understand the how and why it affects so many children lately, but perhaps soon we will know thanks to greater awareness. 

Are you glad to see that the wider screenings and better diagnosis for autism are helping more children be recognized as having the disorder?

Image via champusuicida/flickr

About the author

Irina Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She loves pop culture, social media, photography and, above all, discovering new places. She's also a foodie eating healthy and learning to enjoy exercise.

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