BOSTON (WWLP) — The prevalence of autism is growing throughout the country, and the same trend is happening here in Massachusetts.
This time last year, the Center for Disease Control estimated that 1 in 88 children had an autism spectrum disorder, now that number has grown to 1 in 50 children.
A newly released Massachusetts Autism Commission Report based on 2012 numbers estimates that 75,000 people in Massachusetts have autism. About 16,000 of those people are under the age of 18.
Commission members suggest the number has increased in part because the definition of autism has broadened to include people with Asperger Syndrome and other developmental disorders.
According to Susan Loring, Director of Autism Resource Center of Central Mass, “So that's going to present a huge crisis in terms of social services, in terms of housing, in terms of families trying to make it in the world with a child with special needs.”
The Commission recommends expanding services and eligibility criteria for people who fall in the autism spectrum.
They suggest expanding housing options, job training and educational tools to help people with autism live productive lives.
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