One in six children has a disability

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The number of children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has spiked significantly during the past decade, resulting in a two percent increase nationwide in the number of children with developmental disabilities between 1997 to 2008, according to new statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The statistics, published in a report May 23 in the journal Pediatrics, show that the autism rate reported by parents rose from .02 percent to 0.7 percent. The ADHD rate reported by parents increased from 5.7 to 7.6 percent.

The percentage of children overall with developmental disabilities leaped from 12.84 to 15.04 percent during the period.

While it is not entirely clear what caused the spike, some common factors indicated in the report are that parents are having kids later in life, the increase in premature births and the use of fertility treatments. With autism, increased awareness of the disability is also a significant factor.

Rates regarding the number of children with autism have varied considerably. While the CDC reported in 2009 that 1 in 110 children have autism, a recent study showed that 1 in 38 kids have autism in a village in South Korea, suggesting that the rate in the U.S. could be far higher.