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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some new government figures just issued on the prevalence of autism in children across the country are stirring up controversy.

The estimate released Friday showed more children may be struggling with the condition than previously thought.

Angela Blanchet knew when her son ben was 15 months old, he was developing differently.

“All of a sudden he became quieter,” said Blanchet.

At two years old, Ben was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

“[He was] playing with shadows, watching things spin,” she explained.

Ben is now ten and part of a growing number of children reported as autistic.

New data from the Centers For Disease Control finds as many as 1 in 45 children may be on the spectrum. Another, still current, government survey puts the estimate at 1 in 68.

“The most important takeaway message here is that autism is more prevalent than we currently we believe,” said Michael Rosanoff with Autism Speaks.

Rosanoff believes the numbers jumped because the latest questionnaire presented to parents which changed the order and content of some questions.

“This is purely a methodological issue,” he explained.

“So these numbers didn’t surprise you a lot because you’ve been surrounded by this,” said CBS4’S Kenneth Craig to Blanchet.

“Right, yeah, my neighborhood has a high incidence of autism,” she replied. “Used to be I’d say Ben has autism and they’d be taken aback. But now it’s my son has it, my grandson, etc.”

Blanchet said because Ben was diagnosed early he is getting the help and therapy he needs.


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