(Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 06:30 AM)
According to a report released by the Ministry of Welfare, the number of Israelis diagnosed with autism has tripled over recent years; with 3,949 in 2007 to 14,269 in 2016. The report was released in advance of annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day.
The rise signals the number of Israelis with autism has tripled in the past decade, rising from 5.5 cases per 10,000 to 16.9 cases per 10,000. In the past year alone, the number has risen by 1.8 cases per 10,000 Israelis. For comparisons sake, there are 146 cases per 10,000 in the United States today as opposed to 4 cases per 10,000 in the 1960s the Center for Disease Control reports.
Minister of Welfare Chaim Katz reports that the overwhelming number of persons diagnosed are males, 80% and of the total number diagnosed with the illness, 80% are under the age of 24. While the increase is evident around Israel, the area with the largest number if the Greater Tel Aviv area. This some attribute to increased awareness and tools for early diagnoses in the central area of the country.
Some 80% of those diagnosed with autism are male and according to the ministry, the increase in the number of autism cases stems from better diagnostic tools and increased awareness. Other developed countries have seen a similar increase.
The ministry reports it has recently increased its budget to assist autistic citizens to integrate and to find suitable housing with total funding in 2018 to reach NIS 350 million. This includes hiring 110 new social workers who are dedicated solely to the autistic community.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
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