New CDC findings on ASD prevalence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increases estimate of autism’s prevalence by 15 percent, to 1 in 59 children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its biennial update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children, based on an analysis of 2014 medical and/or school records of 8-year-olds from 11 sites across the United States. It reports that while progress has been made on some fronts, there is still critical work to do.
Key findings include:
- More children have been diagnosed with autism. 1 in 59 children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 8 in 2014, a 15% increase over 2012.
- The gender gap has narrowed slightly. While boys were 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls (1 in 37 versus 1 in 151) in 2014, this gender gap narrowed compared to 2012, when boys were 4.5 times more frequently diagnosed than girls. This appears to reflect improved identification of autism in girls many of whom do not fit the stereotypical picture of autism seen in boys.
- The ethnic gap for early diagnosis has narrowed but not nearly enough. While autism was still more likely to be diagnosed in white children than minority children, the ethnic gap is narrowing, particularly between black and white children. This appears to reflect increased awareness and screening in minority communities. However, the diagnosis of autism among Hispanic children still lagged significantly behind that of non-Hispanic children.
- Disappointingly, the report found no decrease in the age when autism is typically diagnosed. In 2014, most children were still being diagnosed after age 4, though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2. Earlier diagnosis is crucial because early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the life span.
Click here to read more key findings of the new report