Washington, DC - On March 27, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years” derived from an active surveillance system of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network that provides estimates of the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) among children 8 years of age whose parents or guardians live in 11 ADDM sites across the nation.
The 2010 totals released by the CDC show an overall prevalence of ASD among the 11 ADDM sites tracked was 14.7 per 1,000, or 1 in 68 children age 8. In 2008, the CDC estimated approximately 1 in 88 children had been identified with an ASD based on data collected from health and special education records of children living in 14 areas of the United States. Using these totals, the estimated prevalence of ASDs demonstrated an increase of 23% between 2006 and 2008 and 78% between 2002 and 2008.
“The information provided by the CDC suggests we’re getting better at identifying, diagnosing and serving some people on the autism spectrum, but clearly significant ethnic and gender disparities remain,” said Jeff Rosen, Chairperson of the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that recommends disability policy to the President, Congress and other federal agencies. “NCD applauds the CDC’s recommendation that recognition and documentation of ASD – particularly among children who do not have intellectual disabilities and across gender and ethnic lines – needs to be improved and pledges our support and assistance to achieving this common goal.”
“Despite notable advances and improvements in key areas, it still holds true that a person or family is more likely get an autism diagnosis if the child is white and male than if their child is female and not white,” added Ari Ne’eman, NCD member and founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “Better diagnostics should lead to better services and supports – for everyone. We must continue to close the gaps in identifying ASDs so people can both obtain and utilize necessary supports earlier. We should also remember that autistic children eventually grow up. NCD also looks forward to the day when comparable data for autistic adults is also measured and made available. “
Overall ASD prevalence estimates varied among sites from 5.7 to 21.9 per 1,000 children aged 8 years.
ASD prevalence estimates varied by sex and racial/ethnic group.
Non-Hispanic white children were approximately 30% more likely to be identified with ASD than non-Hispanic black children and were almost 50% more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children.
Approximately one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls living in the ADDM Network communities were identified as having ASD.
About the National Council on Disability (NCD): NCD is an independent federal agency of 15 Presidentially-appointed Council Members and full-time professional staff, who advise the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, programs, and practices.