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CDC: 1 in 36 children now identified with autism spectrum disorder

Black, Hispanic children being diagnosed more frequently for autism than White children: CDC
Black, Hispanic children being diagnosed more frequently for autism than White children: CDC 02:07

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- For the first time, autism is being diagnosed more frequently in Black and Hispanic children than in White kids according to a new report released Thursday from the CDC.

Federal health officials say some children didn't get early intervention and treatment because of COVID. The new report also shows autism numbers are up.

When Channing Flack was one, his mom Lauren sensed something was different about her son.

"It was like the milestones just kind of stopped," parent Lauren Flack said. "You know, he wasn't saying mama and daddy, he wasn't pointing for things."

At almost two-and-a-half, he was diagnosed with autism and started therapy immediately. 

"What the diagnosis does is it gives you a means to resources that you would not have available otherwise," Flack said. 

A new CDC report shows one in 36 children identified with an autism spectrum disorder in the United States an increase from one in 44 children in 2018.


"A lot of the increase is likely due to changes in practice, improvements in early detection, availability of services," CDC's child development and disability branch chief Matt Maenner said.

For the first time, the percentage of Asian, Black and Hispanic children diagnosed was higher than among White children. But when it comes to detecting autism early, a second CDC report suggests the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts.

"More children were getting identified every month until March 2020, and then that progress was was wiped out," Maenner said.

Channing Flack is now six and in kindergarten. He communicates using a tablet.

"I don't feel like Channing would be thriving as much as he is now had we not, you know, gotten the help that we needed as quickly as possible," Lauren Flack said.

The new report shows New Jersey's rate of 8-year-olds diagnosed with autism is the third-highest in the nation.

The CDC has a program called Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Autism Speaks has resources posted on its website on what you can do after a diagnosis.

You can contact Autism Speaks at 1-888-AUTISM2 (288-4762) or En Español: at 1-888-772-9050.

You can also email

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