Should parents be worried? A new parent survey indicates that the number of American children with autism has doubled since 2003, to 1 in 91. The National Survey of Children’s Health, which is largely based on unconfirmed information from parents on the health of 78,000 kids, is less official than the U.S. government study of six years ago, causing a debate over how many children actually suffer from autism. If the current figures are accurate, 1.1 percent of children have some kind of autistic disorder compared to 0.57 in 2003. Regardless of the exact numbers, researchers are concerned: "The study shows that the increase in autism is real—you can't have a genetic epidemic—there are environmental factors in play," said Rebecca Estepp, national media manager for Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). "This is a national health crisis. ... I don't know how it hasn't been declared a national health emergency."
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