In April the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its update of the estimated autism prevalence. This estimate was based off an analysis of 2014 medical records and educational records of 8 year old children from 11 sites across the US.
The new estimate represents a 15 percent increase to 1 in 59 children.
These numbers are updated every two years by the CDC. Significantly higher numbers were reported at sites where researchers had full access to school records. This leads us to believe that autism may still be persistently underreported.
Here are some Key findings that are listed on the Autism Speaks website.
Key findings of the new report include:
* Nationally, 1 in 59 children had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 8 in 2014, a 15 percent increase over 2012.
* The gender gap in autism has decreased. While boys were 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls (1 in 37 versus 1 in 151) in 2014, the difference was narrower than in 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.
* White children were still more likely to be diagnosed with autism than were minority children. However, the ethnic gap had narrowed since 2012, 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 overall decrease in the age of diagnosis. 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 lifespan.