In the News: Centers for Disease Control Report -- Increasing ASD Rates?

In the News: Centers for Disease Control Report — Increasing ASD Rates?

Here is a New York Times article on a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The CDC estimates as many as 1 in 50 children in US schools have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This a significant jump from the 1 in 86 children CDC reported in 2007.

Researchers involved in the report suggest this jump is due to an increased awareness and diagnosis of previously unrecognized ASD, not necessarily an increase in the number of children born with ASD.

As the New York Times article mentions, this current study had some methodological limitations and the numbers should be interpreted with caution. This study involved a phone survey that asked parents to report their son or daughter’s diagnosis and severity. The CDC report in 2007 involved medical records, which may have been more reliable. Regardless, this is a fascinating report that brings to light some important trends in ASD awareness and diagnosis.

Want to know more about rates? Dr. Eric Fombonne provided an excellent review of the 2012 CDC report of data collected in 2008 at 14 sites across the U.S. Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance. Also, Michelle Dawson, a researcher at the Université de Montréal, has blogged about interpreting reports related to surveillance and other research, and presents additional discussions about rates

Written by Suzanne Robinson