The Autism Society of America (ASA) welcomed the new CDC studies on the prevalent numbers of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States as tremendously significant data that will help the cause of improving the lives of all those affected by autism.
In data collected from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM), a population-based, multi-state surveillance network that surveyed 8-year-olds in 2000 and 2002, the CDC found that the data confirm that ASD prevalence affects approximately an average of 1 child in every 150. The data represents 10 percent of the U.S. population of 8-year- old children.ASA believes the CDC numbers are tremendously significant. “Finally, we can end the debate on the prevalence of autism in our nation and focus on getting the services and supports the families need,” said Lee Grossman, ASA president and CEO. “Autism is a treatable lifelong condition that affects tens of millions of Americans today. It is time to aggressively address this national health crisis.” The CDC is recommending public health actions to improve early identification of ASD.The CDC study includes children with behaviors consistent with autism, Asperger’s and pervasive developmental delays — not otherwise specified (PDD- NOS). The data came from 14 sites in five states (Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and West Virginia). The study also found higher prevalence in boys than girls (a range of 2.8 — 6 boys to girls, depending on the state) and no statistically significant difference among non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic black children.Colleen Boyle of the CDC noted that the study showed the age of diagnosis (at between 4-5 years of age) was much later than the age at which developmental concern was registered (before 24 months), underscoring the need for earlier identification of autism.(Source: Autism Society of America : February 2007.)