One in 41 children is diagnosed with autism in New Jersey, a 12 percent increase over two years for a state that already had the highest rate in the nation, federal health officials announced Thursday.
But the data, comparing rates from 2010 to 2012, don’t appear to show an uptick in the incidence of the disorder, a range of experts said. Instead, they maintained, the state is doing a better job of detecting it and getting services to children who need help.
Still, the numbers released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are daunting because they reflect a continuing trend of increasing numbers of families affected by autism spectrum disorder.
“We’re seeing a lot more children on the higher functioning end of the spectrum diagnosed,” said Dr. Randye Huron, director of the Institute for Child Development at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.