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CDC Supports APHA National Public Health Week

Public Health: Start Here

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 eight-year-olds) in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a surveillance summary report, “Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010.”

According to the new report:

  • The estimated number of children identified with ASD continues to rise. This latest estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates from CDC’s autism tracking system.
  • Some things about ASD have remained the same. For example, ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls. White children are more likely to be identified with ASD than Black or Hispanic children. And, most children with ASD are still not diagnosed until after age 4, even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
  • However, the picture of ASD in communities is changing. Almost half of children identified with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability (an IQ of 85 and above) compared to a third of children a decade ago.

CDC continues to be in the forefront of documenting changes in the picture of autism over time. More is understood about autism than ever before, but there is an urgent need to continue the search for answers and provide help now for people living with autism.

Parents:

  • You know your child best. If you have a concern about how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves, take action. Don’t wait.
  • All parents can track their child’s development with CDC’s free milestone checklists. Childcare workers, educators and health care providers have a role to play.
  • Learn more about CDC’s Birth to 5 Watch Me Thrive! initiative which promotes developmental screenings in child care centers and doctors’ offices.

If you are concerned:

  • Talk to your child’s doctor. Click here to learn how.
  • Call your local early intervention program or school system for a free evaluation.
  • Remember, you don’t need a diagnosis to get services.
  • It’s never too late to get help for your child.

Research tells us the earlier a child with autism is identified and connected to services, the better. That’s why it’s so important for every parent to track their child’s development and act quickly if there is a concern.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS hyg

Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS hyg

Biography

Photo: Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS hyg

"The number of children identified with autism continues to increase and the characteristics of these children have changed over time. While progress has been made, there is an urgent need to continue the search for answers and provide help now for people living with autism."

"The latest snapshot from our autism monitoring network shows 1 in 68 children in communities across the United States has autism. We hope that community leaders, health professionals, educators and childcare providers use these data as a call for action. We must make sure children with ASD are identified as early as possible and connected to the services they need."

Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MS hyg - Director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD

Biography

Photo: Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD

"Some of the children who are most severely affected by autism are not being identified as early as possible. More needs to be done to identify these children sooner. The earlier a child with autism is identified and connected to services, the more the child will benefit from this support."

"The most important thing for parents to do is track their child’s development and act quickly if there is a concern. Don’t wait. CDC has checklists to help parents track their child’s development. They are free and you can find them at www.cdc.gov/milestones."

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, MD - Chief of CDC’s Developmental Disabilities Branch

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