• Unlocking the autism puzzle

    By: Heather Hegedus

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Chances are you probably know someone who has a child or sibling with autism.

    This spring, the Centers for Disease Control announced 1 in 59 children in the United States now have autism.

    Compare that to 2000, when the rates were in 1 in 150 children. And for boys, it's even more prevalent, affecting 1 in 37 boys.

    A 2016 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found Massachusetts ranks 5th in the country for the highest incidents of autism.

    Three other states in New England are also in the top ten.

    I spent months speaking with families and researchers here in Boston and nationally, asking if there's a reason autism rates are so high here.

    Previous stories on Autism

    Local mom turns sons' double autism diagnoses into opportunity to help dozens

    Personal experiences inspire Norwood Police Dept. to raise autism awareness

    'Virtual child' helping researchers to learn more about autism

    Further reading and information

    For The New England Center for Children home-based therapy services (for kids under 3 like Teddy Abcunas) go to.

    For Becky MacDonald’s infant sibling cooing study, she’s still looking for participants.

    To contact the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders, call: (617) 573-1600.

    To contact the Massachusetts Autism Commission, call: 617-624-7848.

    For more information on vocational training like the job coaching program Jeanine Lazili is part of, reach out to Julie Weiss, Director of Vocational Training at the New England Center for Children.

    For more info on the immune system/brain connection (microglia) research Dr. Staci Bilbo is conducting at Mass General’s Lurie Center.

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