From Autism Science Foundation
(March 29, 2012—New York) The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta today reported that 1 in 88 children were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2008. That’s a 23% increase from 2006 when the prevalence rate was 1 in 110. Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified.
“One thing the data tells us with certainty – there are many children and families who need help,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H said in a press release. “We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children.” On a noontime call with media and advocates, Dr. Frieden added “Doctors are getting better at diagnosing autism. It’s possible that the increase is entirely the result of better detection.”
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 14 ADDM Network sites (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah 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.”
“We need to accelerate research into causes” said Dr. Coleen Boyle, Director of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. ”Tracking helps identify potential risk factors. Because of tracking we now know more about how advanced parental age and premature birth confer increased risk for autism.”
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. 646-723-3976
Read the full report from CDC http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm?s_cid=ss6103a1_e
CDC has also issued a Community Report that gives detail by site and has a useful FAQ section.