More than 90,000 California public school students are autistic, a number that has risen more than six-fold since 2001, according to the latest data from the California Department of Education.
The figure represent a jump of about 6,000, or 7 percent, from 2013-14 to 2014-15. More than one of every 75 kindergartners in California public schools is classified as autistic.Much of the change probably stems from changes in classification practices: many students with a determination of autism would in the past have had a label of intellectual disability. From a Penn State release about nationwide study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics:
The number of autistic students statewide has risen by between 5,000 and 7,000 every year for a decade. In 2001, there were about 14,000 autistic students in the state.
Each year since at least 2001, the number of autistic students has risen by 7 percent or more, state figures show.