Report says 1 in 50 school children have autism

Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 20, 2013

(CBS News) -- A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 1 in 50 school age children has autism, a figure that is much higher than a recent government  estimate of 1 in 88 children.

The new numbers are based on data from a national phone survey of more than 95,000 parents.

Health experts say the new estimate doesn’t necessarily mean autism is rising but suggests that doctors are diagnosing the disorder more often, especially in older children with milder cases.

" While this study is showing us that prevalence is increasing in part because we’re getting better at identifying cases, the cases are still being identified too late," said Michael Rosanoff, Associate Director of Public Health Research and Scientific Review.

Many experts say the previous research that determined 1 in 88 children has autism is considered more intensive because it looked at medical and school records.