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CDC 2018 report – “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years”

Baio J, Wiggins L, Christensen DL, et al. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. MMWR Surveill Summ 2018;67(No. SS-6):1–23. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6706a1

Conclusion
The latest findings from the ADDM Network provide evidence that the prevalence of ASD is higher than previously reported ADDM estimates and continues to vary among certain racial/ethnic groups and communities. The overall ASD prevalence estimate of 16.8 per 1,000 children aged 8 years in 2014 is higher than previous estimates from the ADDM Network. With prevalence of ASD reaching nearly 3% in some communities and representing an increase of 150% since 2000, ASD is an urgent public health concern that could benefit from enhanced strategies to help identify ASD earlier; to determine possible risk factors; and to address the growing behavioral, educational, residential and occupational needs of this population.

Implementation of the new DSM-5 case definition had little effect on the overall number of children identified with ASD for the ADDM 2014 surveillance year. This might be a result of including documented ASD diagnoses in the DSM-5 surveillance case definition. Over time, the estimate might be influenced (downward) by a diminishing number of persons who meet the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD based solely on a previous DSM-IV-TR diagnosis, such as autistic disorder, PDD-NOS or Asperger disorder, and influenced (upward) by professionals aligning their clinical descriptions with the DSM-5 criteria. Although the prevalence of ASD and characteristics of children identified by each case definition were similar in 2014, the diagnostic features defined under DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 appear to be quite different. The ADDM Network will continue to evaluate these similarities and differences in much greater depth, and will examine at least one more cohort of children aged 8 years to expand this comparison. Over time, the ADDM Network will be well positioned to evaluate the effects of changing ASD diagnostic parameters on prevalence.

CDC Report: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6706a1.htm?s_cid=ss6706a1_w

Autism Speaks’ article on the report: https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/cdc-increases-estimate-autism%E2%80%99s-prevalence-15-percent-1-59-children

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