TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism in the U.S.
At the Andrews Center's Treatment and Learning Center close to 50 children diagnosed with autism receive assistance.
"It can range from basic understanding, to contact receptive and some foundational learning," said Rachel Massey, a board-certified behavior analyst for the center.
Massey says that in the last couple years the center has welcomed more children.
When the CDC reported that there was a rise in children with autism in the country she wasn't surprised.
"Families are getting more exposure to it and are able to recognize those symptoms early on," said Massey. "They are able to bring those concerns to their pediatrician."
According to the CDC's study, an estimated 1 out of every 59 children has autism, an increase from the estimated 1 out of every 68 children reported in 2016.This data was collected from over 300,000 8-year-old children.
Massey says even though it's alarming to hear about the increase she hopes it brings attention to early detection.
"Research has shown the earlier we can intervene with this diagnosis the better prognosis," said Massey.
Early detection helps experts detect specific treatment a child might need.
Four-year-old Evan has been receiving treatment at the center since he was 2.
The staff has focused on improving his communication skills and Massey says pretty soon he'll be ready for preschool.
It's not clear if autism rates are expected to continue to rise, but Massey says parents need to focus on detecting it first.
"We've seen kiddos that maybe didn't get a diagnosis until they were 5 or 6 or 8. And that's harder to treat," said Massey.
The data from that new CDC study stems from the research studying more than 300,000 8-year-old children from 11 communities across 12 states.