FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — More children are being diagnosed with autism than ever before, with 1 in 36 diagnosed with the disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a 22% increase over previous reports. Ten years ago, it was 1 in 68.

Jim Taylor said his son was diagnosed in 2021.

“Basically, what he said to us was that, had Hudson been taken in to be diagnosed maybe five years prior, he might not have gotten that diagnosis because the criteria for meeting that autism diagnosis has changed a great deal over recent years,” he said.

Autism was first described in the 1940s. The increase in diagnoses doesn’t mean more children are being born with autism, but it comes from a greater awareness of the condition and improved diagnostic methods.

“That diagnosis unlocked all of these services that are so vital to my son making his way in the world,” Taylor said.

Hudson is enrolled in therapy sessions and groups specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum.

Kelly Ridel, a board-certified behavioral analyst, said that without a diagnosis, it is much harder for children with autism to be successful in life.

“These better tools, this better awareness around is helping kids get into services and the ABA therapy a lot sooner, and then a lot of times they’re able to go to school with minimal help, some help, or no help and are able to go to school with their neurotypical peers,” she said.