NewsNation | March 29, 2012
>>> and disturbing news on the number of u.s. children now affected by autism. the centers for disease control now reports as many as 1 in 88 children are affected by autism. chief science and health correspondent bob bazell joins us in studio. this came from the study in 2008 . it was obtained, the information. but it has been updated -- i'm sorry.
>> this is the latest data. it shows in 14 sites where they monitor, which are reliable academic institutions, the numbers, 1 in 88. even more starting in boys, it is 1 in 54.
>> we're also seeing an increase in hispanic and black children as well.
>> right. a lot of this has to do with increased definition changes. definition changes over time. i don't think that anybody, in fact, this number has gone up since 2002 when they first started taking it by 78%. so there has been an enormous number of children defined on the autistic spectrum .
>> does this mean more children are autistic? before it was 1 in 210. in alabama they're saying 1 in 47.
>> most experts that i've spoken to say it is change in the definition. a lot of things are being called autism now that used to be called something else. they range from very bad things like mental retardation to less bad thing like learning problems. all of those are now under the umbrella of ought i. that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of kids who need help. but the classical definition is a child total socially withdrawn. doesn't make eye contact and can't perform any skilled tasks. a lot of these kids don't fall into that category. so the definitions are changing. the people with autism speaks , the major advocacy organization says while they think at least half is something in the environment that hasn't been identified yet, a lot of doctors don't agree with that. they think it is the definition.
>> i should correct. 1 in 47 children in utah, not alabama.
>> it is a lot of kids falling under the definition. curiously, a lot of parents seek, when kids, in some places, when kids have the definition, they end up getting enhanced educational services. and unfortunately, our schools as you well know are such that a lot of parents want that for their kids.
>> bob bazell with the latest on the numbers. a lot to think about there. hopefully the children will get the help they need.