Latest U.S. estimate suggests 1 in 45 children have autism

FILE - In this July 21, 2014 file photo, students at a summer reading academy at Buchanan elementary school work in the computer lab at the school in Oklahoma City. Wading into one of the most polarizing issues in education, President Barack Obama called Saturday for capping standardized testing at 2 percent of classroom time, while conceding the government shares responsibility for having turned tests into the be-all-and-end-all of American schools. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki,File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Officials say the latest government estimate of the number of children with autism supports a belief that the frequency of the disorder may be underestimated.

The latest figure released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 45 U.S. children have the developmental disorder. But other federal calculations find autism is less common than that.

The new number is from a survey of parents of 13,000 children, who were asked last year if their child were ever diagnosed with autism or a related disorder.

The most rigorous number, from checks of school records, gives a lower estimate of 1 in 68 children and the advocacy group Autism Speaks says that figure will be treated as the best estimate, even though it may be low.

Estimates of how common autism is have been steadily increasing.

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