Diagnoses are on the rise with US children for developmental disabilities like autism and ADHD according to a recent article published in Medical Press.
A government study conducted by lead researcher Benjamin Zablotsky, from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, found that between 2009 and 2017 the percentage of children and teens with a developmental disability increased from over 16% to nearly 18%. The developmental disabilities that increased the most were ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.
However, researchers seem to agree that the increase may be attributed to children who were once left undiagnosed who are now being diagnosed because of increased awareness. A specific example of this was given by Maureen Durkin, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. She postulates that autism spectrum disorder (ASDs) is a prime example because the definition of autism has broadened over time. This change may have caused the increased diagnoses of individuals who had gone undiagnosed in the past. Additionally, researchers in this study also state that the wording of the survey questions has evolved prompting more parents to report their child as having been diagnosed with some of the developmental disabilities.