New Autism Prevalence Report: Two percent of children in the U.S. are estimated to live with autism

A new American government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is notably higher than the official government estimate of 1 in 68 American children with autism, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as read on Autism Speaks website.

Because the new numbers come from a parent survey, they don’t replace the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) 1-in-68 figure as the official estimate of autism prevalence in the United States. “The 1 in 45 estimate is not surprising and is likely a more accurate representation of autism prevalence in the United States,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks director for public health research.

The new numbers are more similar to those from another national parent survey – the 2013 National Survey of Children’s Health – which found an autism prevalence of 1 in 50. Similarly, a school based study conducted involving researchers screen in South Korea showed a prevalence of 1 in 38 – with many of the children having gone previously undiagnosed.

Further country specific studies using the same active screening methods are underway with the results awaiting announcement, but global indicators are currently showing that 1% of the world population is expected to live in the autism spectrum Disorders (ASD).

“We need to better understand not only who has autism,” says the Director, “but whether they are receiving the support they need and how we can ensure that they do receive it.”

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