A Snapshot of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Maryland

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Findings from the Maryland Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (MD-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.

Maryland site tracking area
1 in 49

Or 2.0% of 8-year-old children were identified with ASD by MD-ADDM in 2018

Bar chart showing prevalence in Maryland

This percentage is lower than 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

Black children were 1.4x as likely to be identified with ASD as White children. No additional significant differences in ASD prevalence were found between Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific Islander children

Black children were 60% as likely to be identified with ASD as White children.

Values indicate prevalence per 1,000 children.

By 3 years of age

About 66% of 8-year-old children identified with ASD received a comprehensive developmental evaluation

chart showing 66 percent

8-year-old boys

Boys are 4.4x as likely to be identified with ASD as girls

Were 4.4x as likely to be identified with ASD as girls

By 3 years of age

About 83% of 4-year-old children identified with ASD received a comprehensive developmental evaluation

maryland chart 83%

By 45 months of age

Half of 8-year-old children identified with ASD were diagnosed

Children who were born in 2014 (0.97%) were 1.5x as likely to receive an ASD diagnosis or ASD special education classification by 48 months of age compared to children born in 2010 (0.66%).

Children who were born in 2014 (0.97%) were 1.5x as likely to receive an ASD diagnosis or ASD special education classification by 48 months of age compared to children born in 2010 (0.66%).

Cumulative incidence of ASD identified per 1000 children.

What are the key take-away messages?
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be diagnosed as young as 18 months of age.
  • In MD-ADDM, most children identified with ASD by 8 years of age were evaluated by age 3.
  • Efforts may be directed toward evaluating and diagnosing all children with ASD as early as possible so that they can be connected to the services they need.
  • Many children with ASD need services and support, now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.
How can this information be useful?

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

  • Promote early identification of ASD.
  • Plan for the service needs of individuals with ASD and provide trainings related to ASD for healthcare providers and families.
  • Guide future research.
  • Inform policies promoting improved outcomes in health care and education for individuals with ASD.
How and where was this information collected?

MD-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 5 counties in Maryland in 2018.

Tracking areas
Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, and Howard counties

8-year-old children in tracking area: 20,666

  • 55% White
  • 26% Black
  • 9% Hispanic
  • 10% Asian or Pacific Islander
  • <1% American Indian or Alaska Native

4-year-old children in tracking area: 19,818

  • 56% White
  • 25% Black
  • 10% Hispanic
  • 9% Asian or Pacific Islander
  • <1% American Indian or Alaska Native

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

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

MD-ADDM collaborates with the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland State Department of Education, the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and local school districts, to track the number and characteristics of 4-year-old and 8-year-old children with ASD. MD-ADDM offers presentations on the number and characteristics of children with ASD in Maryland and across the ADDM Network for stakeholders, state and local agencies, partnering institutes, and parent groups. MD-ADDM also participates in and organizes annual autism awareness month events in the community.

Resources

“The MD-ADDM site provides critical data to Maryland agencies serving the autism population. The data assists these agencies to allocate local resources, direct policy initiatives and may lead to increased capacity of services to help more families. Pathfinders for Autism utilizes the MD-ADDM data in our outreach and awareness efforts to better educate the general population and allows us to better distribute information and resources to Maryland’s autism families.”

– REBECCA RIENZI
Executive Director, Pathfinders for Autism

PATHFINDERS FOR AUTISM
443-330-5341
www.pathfindersforautism.orgexternal icon

CENTER FOR AUTISM AND RELATED DISORDERS AT KENNEDY KRIEGER INSTITUTE
443-923-7630
www.card.kennedykrieger.orgexternal icon

THE PARENTS’ PLACE OF MARYLAND
410-768-9100
https://www.ppmd.org/external icon

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S DIVISION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
410-767-0238
www.marylandpublicschools.org/programs/Pages/Special-Education/index.aspxexternal icon

ITINERIS
443-275-1100
https://www.itinerisbaltimore.org/external icon

AUTISM SOCIETY OF BALTIMORE-CHESAPEAKE
410-655-7933
www.baltimoreautismsociety.orgexternal icon

COMMUNITY SERVICES FOR AUTISTIC ADULTS AND CHILDREN (CSAAC)
240-912-2220
http://csaac.org/external icon

CDC’S LEARN THE SIGNS.
ACT EARLY.
Rachel Demma
Maryland’s Act Early Ambassador
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/ambassadors-list.html

CONNECT WITH MD-ADDM
Dani Fallin, PhD
dfallin@jhu.edu
Elise Pas, PhD
epas@jhu.edu
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Li-Ching Lee

The Maryland ADDM site lost its longtime principal investigator, Dr. Li-Ching Lee, in May 2021, when she passed away from breast cancer at age 54. Her work included autism prevalence and related research in the United States, as well as Taiwan, Bangladesh, and China. The Maryland ADDM site dedicates this year’s report to Dr. Lee, honoring her devotion to children around the world, her colleagues, and the many students she mentored in her too-brief lifetime.