According to new data from Rutgers University, New Jersey preschoolers are being diagnosed with autism at the highest rate in the United States.
The National Autistic Society defines autism as a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.
It is not a disease, but rather, a spectrum disorder. Due to the nature of this disorder, people with autism all have different experiences.
As reported by the Center of Disease Control, one in 35 New Jersey children have been diagnosed with autism.
The NAS says that "All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways."
Diagnosis rates of autism have jumped from one percent in children born in 1992 to three percent in children born in 2010.
Currently one in every 23 four-year-old boys has been diagnosed with autism in New Jersey, a 43 per cent jump from four years ago and echoing the autism gender disparity.
The national average for autism diagnosis in America is 13 in every 1,000 children. New Jersey's average is 28 per every 1,000 children.
The director of the New Jersey portion of the Rutgers University study, Walter Zahorodny, said: "There's no letup. I really don't understand why the rate is going up in this way."
It's been discovered that certain elements, like older parents, premature birth, and being one of multiple children in one birth increase the likelihood of an autism diagnosis, but it is yet to be determined why.
While the greatest influence appears to be unknown environmental factors, one thing is for certain, rising autism rates are definitely not correlated to vaccination.
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