Researchers on the study, "National Autism Prevalence: Trends from United States Special Education Data" analyzed national special education data collected from 1992 to 2001 to compared trends in prevalence of autism with trends in prevalence of other disabilities. Consistent with other reports, this analysis shows that autism prevalence in school-age children has been increasing dramatically with time. In addition, the researchers found indications that the rate of increase may now be slowing -- although they caution that these signs of slowing could also be the byproduct of changes in the way schools are using certain special education classifications.
The study also reports that the large increases in autism prevalence do not seem to be accompanied by comparable decreases in other special education classifications, and points out that even though autism can now be diagnosed in children at young ages, children still appear to be acquiring autism special education classifications for the first time at older ages.
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