Estimates of the Number of Children with Austism Grows

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The government is increasing its estimate of how many children have autism.

The government now says 1 in 68 children have some form of autism or other related disorder. That's a 30 percent jump from the last estimate of 1 in 88 children.

But health officials say the new number may not mean autism is occurring more often. Much of the increase is believed to be from a cultural and medical shift, with doctors diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.

There are no medical tests for autism, so diagnosis is not an exact science. It's identified by a child's behavior.

This latest estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means autism affects roughly 1.2 million U.S. children and teens.

The CDC collected data from 11 areas of the country, including Colorado. That data came from Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

Thursday's report is considered the most comprehensive on the frequency of autism.