NJ preschoolers have highest autism rates ever in US

May 2019

New Jersey preschoolers have the highest rates of autism ever measured in the United States, a rate that has increased faster than in other states studied, researchers at Rutgers University reported Thursday. The rate of autism among children here has tripled in a generation.

One in 35 children in New Jersey was diagnosed with autism by their 4th birthday, according to the study published by the federal Centers for Disease Control on Thursday. Those children were more likely to have attracted the attention of pediatricians and early-childhood educators because of moderate to severe symptoms of autism. Still more children are diagnosed with autism when they enter public schools.

The relentless climb in autism rates – from 1% of children born in 1992 to 3% of children born in 2010 – has shown no signs of reaching a plateau, said Walter Zahorodny, an associate professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who directed the New Jersey portion of the study.

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