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Study Identifies Autism Clusters In California


California Autism Cluster Map

California Autism Cluster Map

A U.C. Davis researcher has identified areas in California with high rates of childhood autism.

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— A researcher at U.C. Davis has identified 10 areas in California, including one in San Diego County, that have high rates of childhood autism. These autism "clusters" are typically located in urban areas where parents have high levels of education.

Karla Van Meter conducted the study. She said the link between autistic kids and highly educated parents is well known, and there are theories as to why that link exists.

"One is that educated parents are more capable or more successful negotiating to get their kids services," she said. "You have to apply. You have to call people, make appointments, explain to people what's going on."

One of California's autism clusters is in the part of San Diego County that includes La Jolla, Carmel Valley and Fairbanks Ranch. The study failed to identify any environmental factors that may contribute to autism.

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