Study: Supposed rise in autism may be due to semantics

Special education enrollment figures suggest 97 percent of the increase in autism seen between 2000 and 2010 could simply be accounted for by reclassification — at least among older kids — a team at Penn State University found.

Overall, two-thirds of the increase could be due to reclassification, the researchers reported in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Their conclusions won’t end the debate, but they may offer some solace to worried parents and help explain such a huge jump in cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 30 percent spike in autism diagnoses among 8-year-olds between 2008 and 2010 to one in 68 children.