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Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Epidemic

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The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder has risen dramatically during the past few decades. Researchers are now calling it an urgent health matter; some are even calling it an epidemic. Between 1991 and 1999, the number of children in the United States receiving special education services for autism spectrum disorder rose 500%. The rate has nearly doubled in the past ten years across the country. In 2002, the rate of children with autism spectrum disorder was 1 in every 150 children. Currently, approximately 1 in every 88 children has autism spectrum disorder. This increase is happening not only in the United States; studies have found rates to be rising in Canada and across Europe, as well.

Using the module readings, the Argosy University online library resources and the Internet, research the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder. Then, respond to the following:

  • Identify and explain at least three possible causes for the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Analyze why so many children are developing autism spectrum disorder.
    • Do you think the numbers have increased due to improved methods of identifying and diagnosing children with autism spectrum disorder? Why or why not?
    • Are there some environmental, genetic, or cultural reasons for the increase? Explain your answer.
  • Recommend what we should do, as a society, to address this epidemic.

Write your initial response in 300–500 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources, including in-text citations and full references. Incorporate information from at least two academic sources to support your statements or ideas. Academic sources could include your textbook, required readings for this module, or academic journal articles found in the AU online library.

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