Autism Is on the Rise (Or Is it?)

What to make of the surprising new data.

By Mary Carmichael | Newsweek Web Exclusive

Oct 6, 2009

For years the autism community's most powerful public-relations weapon has been a striking statistic: an estimated 1 in 150 children have the diagnosis. Now it appears that estimate is actually too small. According to two new studies, the number of kids diagnosed with autism or a related disorder in the U.S. is closer to 1 in 100.

The new data has everyone who cares about autism abuzz. But, as with so many issues connected to the disorder, no one can quite agree on what it means.

One of the new studies, published in Pediatrics, is based on a survey of more than 78,000 parents. Researchers asked them if doctors had ever diagnosed any of their children with autism or a related disorder on the autism spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome. More than 1,400 of the parents said yes. If those numbers represent the population at large, that means 673,000 American kids likely have a form of autism.

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full story? See http://www.newsweek.com/id/216832

Note: Google reports 671 similar stories on the internet ...

Centrelink and Autism SA presented at APAC '09, as well as previous reports here, show a similar story in Australia.

 

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CDC Statement on Autism Data

From http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html (the CDC web page may change at some point)

October 5, 2009

CDC recognizes the importance of the data released today in PediatricsExternal Web Site Icon by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)External Web Site Icon on parental report of autism from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

An updated prevalence report from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is currently in press. Given the importance of the issue and these new findings, we would like to confirm that updated preliminary data from CDC shows that overall prevalence findings are similar to those reported by HRSA indicating that approximately 1% of children are affected with an ASD.  There is some variation in ASD prevalence among the ADDM Network communities, which will be described in detail in the upcoming report. We expect to make the CDC report available in its entirety later this year in accordance with publication guidelines. 

CDC joins with HRSA in recognizing that ASDs are conditions of urgent public health concern and these data affirm that a concerted and substantial national response is warranted.  We will continue to research potential risk factors associated with ASDs and will continue our work in surveillance so that we can understand trends in ASD rates over time. We hope that these new data might raise awareness about ASDs to help improve early identification and intervention and to provide information for policy and service planning, which will ultimately help to meet the growing needs of individuals, families, and communities affected by ASDs

For more information on the coordination of public and private research on autism: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)External Web Site Icon