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Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Numbers to Know-How

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Photo: boy playing with blocks.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Global prevalence of autism has increased twenty- to thirty-fold since the earliest studies 40–50 years ago. Just-published CDC data shows an estimated prevalence of 1 in 68 children affected by an autism spectrum disorder. ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and is almost five times more common among boys than girls. Tracking and diagnosing ASD can be difficult, since there is no single biological marker, and diagnostic criteria have recently changed. Although signs may appear early in life, many children with ASD do not receive a final diagnosis until they are over the age of 4. This delay means that children with ASD and their families might not get the help they need during the most critical periods of development.

Please join us to discuss the challenges of understanding and diagnosing this complex disorder and the opportunities for early identification and screening. This session of Grand Rounds will also explore some of the evidence-based interventions that can help individuals with autism make gains in their development.


Beyond the Data Beyond brings you "take home" messages for you to use in your practice, in your classroom and in your home.

Dr. John Iskander and Jon Baio discuss some of the complex challenges of understanding and diagnosing autism spectrum disorder. Most recent data shows that prevalence estimates have more than doubled and a much larger number of children are being diagnosed, while the median age of first diagnosis remains older than age 4. The greatest potential for long term impact in this area lies in earlier diagnosis, from older than 4 years old to 2 years old, and starting treatment sooner to get maximum benefit.


Presented By

Julie Daniels, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health,
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Autism Etiology – What We Know and How to Learn More”

Jon Baio, EdS
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC
“Surveillance for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Key Findings and Trends”

Susan L. Hyman, MD
Division Chief, Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics,
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center
“Early Identification and Screening”

Samuel L. Odom, PhD
Director, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Evidence-based Intervention for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder”
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC

Facilitated By

John Iskander, MD, MPH, Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH, Deputy Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Susan Laird, MSN, RN, Communications Manager, Public Health Grand Rounds

Additional Resources

  • Page last reviewed: April 24, 2014
  • Page last updated: April 24, 2014
  • Content source: