1 in 88 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, CDC reports

Date Published: 
March 29, 2012

1 in 48 boys diagnosed with autism

(March 29, 2012—Atlanta)  The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta today reported that 1 in 88 children (1 in 48 boys) is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Previous reports had pegged the number at 1 in 110.

The CDC will be holding a conference call with media and autism advocates later today to provide additional details.

The identified prevalence of ASDs in U.S. children aged 8 years was estimated through a retrospective review of records in multiple sites participating in the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Data were collected from existing records in 11 ADDM Network sites (areas of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin) for 2008.  Children aged 8 years met the case definition for an ASD if their records documented behaviors consistent with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder--not otherwise specified (PDD NOS), or Asperger disorder. Presence of an identified ASD was determined through a review of data abstracted from developmental evaluation records by trained clinician reviewers.

“These are not just numbers, these are real people with real needs” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation.  “These are families that are exploding.  We have to focus on building the infrastructure to provide education and services to all of these people and their families. And we have to focus on what is fueling the increase in prevalence, and that means investing in research.  We have learned so much about autism’s genetic underpinnings in the last few years. We have to understand more about what’s going wrong in the brain that causes autism so that we can develop appropriate medical treatments.”

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities characterized by atypical development in socialization, communication, and behavior. ASDs typically are apparent before age 3 years and sometimes can be diagnosed as early as 14 months, with associated impairments affecting multiple areas of a person's life. Because no biologic marker exists for ASDs, identification is made by professionals who evaluate a child's developmental progress to identify the presence of developmental disorders.

Learn more at www.autismsciencefoundation.org