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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Autism Hits 1 in 88 U.S. Kids, 1 in 54 Boys

CDC: Autism Up 23% From 2006 to 2008 as Rates Continue to Rise
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"The practical side of this is we have one in 88 children in our country with an autism spectrum disorder," Landa tells WebMD. "That has very big implications for how we prepare teachers and daycare providers -- and how to be parents."

Landa's own research shows that the earlier children with autism get proper education, the better they function -- emotionally, socially, and intellectually.

"I wish I could say things have changed a lot, but it is not enough," Landa says. "More and more universities are preparing teachers to work with kids with autism, but many times it is a single lecture or just one course. We need to be building strategies into not just special education but also in the regular education training, because the strategies we used to teach children with autism are helpful for all children.

Teaching a child does more than show that child how to act: It actually changes the way that child's brain develops.

"If we are altering children's brain, we should be thinking of education as neuro-education," Landa says. "Something as serious as altering a child's brain development will impact a child's whole live: how they interact with others, how they view themselves, how they contribute to society. These things have such huge ramifications not only for each child and each family but for our country.

Does My Child Have Autism?

There are warning signs that a child is not developing normally and may have autism. Parents should consult the CDC's developmental milestones checklist -- and those who become concerned should immediately have their child evaluated by a medical professional.

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