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  • National autism rate unchanged says CDC
Mar
31

National autism rate unchanged says CDC

CDClogo2016webToday the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the national autism prevalence rate remains unchanged at 1 in 68.

As with the previous report in 2014, this latest estimate is based on a systematic review of health and educational records of 8-year-old children living in designated communities that have been selected to be part of the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Minnesota was recently added to the ADDM Network, although local children will not be included in CDC prevalence rates until the 2018 update.

“This prevalence rate is important because it demonstrates the continued, concrete level of need to people who determine funding-levels and available resources for people with autism, ” said Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM).

CDClogo2016webToday the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the national autism prevalence rate remains unchanged at 1 in 68.

As with the previous report in 2014, this latest estimate is based on a systematic review of health and educational records of 8-year-old children living in designated communities that have been selected to be part of the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Minnesota was recently added to the ADDM Network, although local children will not be included in CDC prevalence rates until the 2018 update.

“This prevalence rate is important because it demonstrates the continued, concrete level of need to people who determine funding-levels and available resources for people with autism, ” said Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM).

“Though the rate is unchanged in this newest report, the 1 in 68 number represents real people who need services to support their daily lives, allowing them to reach their full potential. We continue to be concerned about the disparities in the age of diagnosis among communities of color and people with low income,” Weinberg said.

ASD is a complex developmental disorder with signs that typically appear by age 2. However, in disadvantaged communities, diagnosis often does not occur until 5-7 years of age. The result is lost years of early intervention that could help many children mitigate common challenges associated with autism.

Autism typically affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. But, as a “spectrum condition” it affects each person differently and to varying degrees. Despite years of credible scientific research, there is no known cause of autism.

Common challenges associated with autism include delayed speech acquisition; difficulty with socialization (e.g. making eye contact, holding a conversation, etc.); difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills; and sensory integration. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity. Each person with autism expresses and experiences the disorder in a different way. One person’s autism characteristics may be nothing like another’s.

According to the Minnesota Department of Education’s 2015 disability prevalence count, there were 17,647 youth with autism, under age 21, receiving special education and/or therapeutic services through the state’s school districts. This equates to roughly 2 percent of students in Minnesota.

Click here for more information about the new CDC report.