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.

2.0 percent is higher than the average percentage identified with ASD in 2014. 1.7 percent in all ADDM sites.

Child icons showing 1 in 50 children

1 in 50 8-year-old children were identified with ASD by MD-ADDM in 2014.

Disparities in Identification

Boys were 4.5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. No significant differences were found in the percentage of white, black, and Hispanic children identified with ASD.

Autism Over Time in Baltimore County, Maryland

Intellectual Disability in Maryland

Maryland had intelligence quotient (IQ) data available for 78.4% of children identified with ASD. Of those children, 34.6% had intellectual disability.

34.6 percent had intellectual disability

Intellectual disability is defined as an IQ score of 70 or lower.

Of children identified with ASD… …about 92 percent had development concerns by 3 years of age. …but only about 56 percent received a comprehensive developmental evaluation by 3 years of age.

Of children identified with ASD...

…about 92% had development concerns by 3 years of age.

…but only about 56% received a comprehensive developmental evaluation by 3 years of age.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key take-away messages?
  • Many children are living with ASD who need services and support, now and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.
  • The percentage of children with ASD is high in this area of Maryland.
  • Differences between the percentage of boys and girls identified with ASD continue. It may be that boys are at greater risk for ASD and/or it may be that girls are under-identified due to others factors, such as how providers diagnose and document ASD symptoms among boys versus girls.
  • Despite the developmental concerns noted in many (92 percent) of the children’s records by 3 years of age, only slightly more than half (56 percent) of children identified with ASD received a comprehensive developmental evaluation by this same age. The lag between first concern and first developmental evaluation may affect when children are being diagnosed and connected to the services they need.
  • ASD can be diagnosed as early as 2 years of age; however, about half of children were diagnosed with ASD by a community provider by 4 years, 4 months of age.
  • 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.
How can this information be useful?

MD-ADDM’s latest findings can be used to

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

Stakeholders in Maryland might consider different ways to lower the age of first evaluation by community providers.

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 8 years old and living in Baltimore County in 2014.

  • Children in tracking area: 9,955 8-year-olds
    • 50 percent white
    • 34 percent black
    • 8 percent Hispanic
    • 7 percent Asian or Pacific Islander
    • Less than 1 percent American Indian or Alaska Native
What else does MD-ADDM do besides tracking ASD among 8-year-olds?

MD-ADDM collaborates with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and investigators from Johns Hopkins University and partners with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to track the number and characteristics of 8-year-olds with ASD and/or intellectual disability in Baltimore County, Maryland. 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.

Get Resources and Connect Families to Services and Support in Maryland

“The work that Maryland-ADDM does informs and supports policies that improve access to diagnosis and early intervention, which is so important to the autism community in Maryland. We are fortunate that Maryland was chosen as an ADDM Network site because it allows us to see our state’s trends. This knowledge is a valuable tool in helping us guide our local resources. Our hope is that this data is used to help further research to find a cause as well as help families gain access to more meaningful services.”

– Rebecca Rienzi
Executive Director, Pathfinders for Autism

Autism Society of Baltimore- Chesapeake
www.baltimoreautismsociety.orgexternal icon

Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute
www.card.kennedykrieger.orgexternal icon

Department of Education’s Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services
http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/ programs/Pages/Special-Education/index.aspxexternal icon

Pathfinders for Autism
www.pathfindersforautism.orgexternal icon

The League for People with Disabilities, Inc.
www.leagueforpeople.orgexternal icon

CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early.
Sunyoung Ahn, Maryland’s Act Early Ambassador

Connect with MD-ADDM
Li-Ching Lee, PhD, ScM
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 615 N. Wolfe St., Suite E6032
Baltimore, MD 21205