A Snapshot of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Arkansas

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Findings from the Arkansas Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (AR ADDM) Program help us to understand more about the number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the characteristics of those children, and the age at which they are first evaluated and diagnosed.

Map of Arkansas with site areas in green
About 1 in 44

Or 2.3% of 8-year-old children in an area of Arkansas were identified with ASD by AR-ADDM in 2018

prevelance of ASD in arkansas

This percentage is the same as the overall percentage identified with ASD (2.3%) in all communities where CDC tracked ASD among 8-year-olds in 2018.

Among 8-year-olds

White children were 1.6x as likely to be identified with ASD as Hispanic children

chart showing White children were 1.6x as likely to be identified with ASD as Hispanic children

Values indicate prevalence per 1,000 children. ASD prevalence was similar between White and Black children.

About 1 in 84

Or 1.2% of 4-year-old children were identified with ASD by AR-ADDM in 2018

chart 1.2% of 4-year-old children were identified with ASD by AR-ADDM in 2018

This percentage is lower than the overall percentage identified with ASD (1.7%) in all communities where CDC tracked ASD among 4-year-olds in 2018. This is the first year AR-ADDM has tracked prevalence among 4-year-olds.

By 56 months of age

About half of 8-year-olds were identified with ASD by health or educational sources

IQ data were available for 89%

Of 8-year-old children identified with ASD by AR-ADDM

IQ data for Arkansas 40% had an intellectual disability

Overall, 4-year-olds who met the ADDM case definition

chart - Overall, 4-year-olds who met the ADDM case definition

Children who were born in 2014 were just as likely to be identified with ASD by 48 months of age as children who were born in 2010

chart - Children who were born in 2014 were just as likely to be identified with ASD by 48 months of age as children who were born in 2010

Cumulative incidence of ASD identified per 1000 children.

What are the key take-away messages?
  • More children were identified with ASD in 2018 than in previous AR-ADDM and ADDM Network data.
  • In Arkansas, Hispanic children were less likely to be identified with ASD than White children. Sustained efforts are needed to reduce disparities and identify individuals with ASD as early as possible in order to provide support.
How can this information be useful?

AR-ADDM’s latest findings can be used to:

  • Promote earlier identification of ASD.
  • Plan for ASD services and training.
  • Guide future ASD research.
  • Inform policies promoting improved outcomes in health care and education for individuals with ASD.

Partners in Arkansas might consider different ways to continue to lower the age of first evaluation and diagnosis by community providers.

How and where was this information collected?

AR-ADDM uses a record review method. Specifically, this information is based on the analysis of data collected from the health and special education records of children who were 4 years old and 8 years old and living in one of 21 counties in central Arkansas in 2018.

8-year-old children in tracking area: 15,435

  • 64% White
  • 25% Black
  • 10% Hispanic
  • 1% Asian or Pacific Islander
  • <1% American Indian or Alaska Native

4-year-old children in tracking area: 15,387

  • 63% White
  • 26% Black
  • 10% Hispanic
  • 1% Asian or Pacific Islander
  • 1% American Indian or Alaska Native

* Estimates may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

What else does AR-ADDM do besides provide estimates of ASD?

AR-ADDM collaborates with the Arkansas Department of Health and investigators from the University of Arkansas for Medical Services (UAMS) to track the number and characteristics of 8-year-olds and 4-year-olds with ASD, as well as follow up on 16-year-olds whose records were reviewed in previous tracking years.

In addition, AR-ADDM partners with UAMS Department of Pediatrics and Arkansas Children’s Hospital to provide training to physicians and staff using AR-ADDM’s individualized presentations on the number and characteristics of children with ASD. ARADDM also collaborates with the Arkansas Department of Education to conduct analyses and present findings to Special Education staff across the state. AR- ADDM strives to work together with community partners to improve identification and reduce disparities among children with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Resources

“The Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Community-Based Autism Liaison and Treatment (CoBALT) project clinic keeps us very busy! As a primary care provider, I am very happy that Arkansas has a program such as CoBALT. Because of the autism surveillance work done through AR-ADDM, we are aware of our estimated prevalence rates and know that we have to work on providing early intervention for children. Our work in CoBALT can assist families to obtain quicker access to autism screening and diagnosis, and quicker referral for therapy services. It’s wonderful to see such a partnership in Arkansas.”

– SHERYL DAVIDE-URETA, MD
Team Leader, Arkansas Children’s Hospital CoBALT

FIRST CONNECTIONS
Services for children under 3 years with developmental delays or disabilities
1-800-643-8258 | dhs.arkansas.gov/dds/firstconnectionsweb/#fc-homeexternal icon

DEPT. OF EDUCATION’S SPECIAL EDUCATION UNIT
Special education services for school aged  children with disabilities
1-800-482-8437 | arksped.k12.ar.usexternal icon

ARKANSAS AUTISM RESOURCE AND OUTREACH CENTER
Support, education, and advocacy for families of individuals with ASD
1-800-342-2923 | aaroc.orgexternal icon

UAMS DENNIS DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
Diagnostic and other services for children with developmental delays and disabilities
501-364-1830 | pediatrics.uams.edu/clinical-programs-affiliates/dennis-developmental-center/external icon

ARKANSAS AUTISM PARTNERSHIP MEDICAID WAIVER PROGRAM
Provides intensive, evidence-based intervention for 20-30 hours/week in the homes of young children with autism who meet eligibility criteria
www.uofapartners.uark.edu/projects/autism-partnership/external icon

HEALTHY CHILD CARE ARKANSAS
Training for childcare providers
www.healthychildcarear.org/external icon

COMMUNITY-BASED AUTISM LIAISON AND TREATMENT (CoBALT) PROJECT
Comprehensive diagnostic assessments, early intervention services, and family support
www.pediatrics.uams.edu/specialties/developmentalpediatrics/cobalt-program/external icon

CDC’S LEARN THE SIGNS.
ACT EARLY.
Angela Scott
Arkansas Act Early Ambassador
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/ambassadors-list.html

CONNECT WITH AR-ADDM
Allison Hudson
Research Program Manager
University of Arkansas for Medical
Sciences, Developmental Pediatrics –
Little Rock, AR
aehudson@uams.edu | 501-364-3612