Posted March 27, 2020Autism Society of America–Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its biennial prevalence report on the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The latest findings draw on data from two separate reports on both eight-year-old and four-year-old children, where previous findings only drew from a report on eight-year-old children.
Every year since the CDC began tracking the prevalence of autism in 2000 through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, the numbers have consistently gone up. This year is no different. The report shows that the number of eight-year-old children diagnosed is now 1 in 54. The previous rate released in 2018 was 1 in 59. Whether increases in ASD prevalence are partly attributable to a true increase in the risk of developing ASD or solely to changes in community awareness and identification patterns is not known.
According to the report, progress has been made toward the goal of increasing the number of children who receive their first developmental evaluation for ASD by 36 months.
“We ‘re pleased to see that children are being identified earlier,” stated Christopher Banks. “Research shows that the earlier these children get diagnosed, the sooner they can get services, which greatly impacts their life outcomes. In addition, for the first time, ADDM Network found no disparity between the number of black children identified with autism compared to white children. However, the number of Hispanic children identified with autism is still lower compared to white or black children. We must strive to reach out to these populations to ensure equity in surveillance and services to all children.”
While we do not fully understand the consistent increases, it is clear that our policymakers must respond to the additional service needs of the significantly rising numbers of people on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society of America stands ready to assist federal, state and local policymakers to address the needs of individuals and families with autism.
The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is an active surveillance program that provides estimates of the prevalence of ASD among children aged 8 years whose parents or guardians live in 11 ADDM Network sites in the United States (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin). For more information, see the CDC’s new report on autism prevalence data.
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