Facts About CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network

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CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is the only collaborative network to track the number and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in multiple communities in the United States. CDC encourages partners to use information from ADDM in their local communities and across the country to move forward initiatives, policies, and research that help children and families living with ASD.

What Do ADDM Data Tell Us About ASD?

1 in 44 graphic
  • About 1 in 44 (or 2.3%) of 8-year-old children were identified with ASD in 2018, based on tracking in multiple areas of the United States. It is important to remember that this estimate is based on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States.
  • ASD occurs among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The ADDM Network found no overall difference in the percentage of Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander 8-year-old children identified with ASD. However, at several sites, the percentage of Hispanic children identified with ASD was lower compared to White or Black children.
  • Boys were more than four times as likely to be identified with ASD as girls among 8-year-olds.
  • Children born in 2014 were 50% more likely to receive an ASD diagnosis or ASD special education classification by 48 months of age compared to children born in 2010.
  • Intellectual disability is often seen in children with ASD and can indicate a type of substantial impairment. Among 8-year-old children with ASD, about one third (35.2%) also had intellectual disability.

Building the Public Health Infrastructure for ASD

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network Sites, Surveillance Years 2018 and 2020

ADDM network map

To understand the scope of ASD in the United States, the Children’s Health Act of 2000 authorized CDC to create ADDM to track the number and characteristics of children with ASD and other developmental disabilities using CDC’s Metropolitan Atlanta Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program as a guide.

ADDM is the largest, ongoing ASD tracking system in the United States. There are several major advantages to using the ADDM method for tracking the number and characteristics of children with ASD.

  • The ADDM method is population-based. This means that we study ASD and other developmental disabilities among thousands of children from diverse communities across the country.
  • ADDM tracks how many children have ASD in multiple communities across the United States, which groups of children are more likely to be identified with ASD, and at what age they are likely to be diagnosed.
  • ADDM findings reflect real-world community practices. Differences in ASD identification among communities suggest opportunities to more equitably identify and serve children with ASD.

“While typical children are scheduling play dates and extracurricular activities, our children’s lives are about therapies, day after day, year after year, usually seven days a week. People on the outside cannot grasp the necessary skills that our children require help with. My ultimate hope is that one day soon my children will live in a world where they will be accepted and appreciated, despite their differences. As long as I am here, I try to surround them with people who love and accept them as they navigate this world because autism never takes a day off.”

– Mary Elizabeth, parent of two children with ASD

Moving Forward

CDC will continue to monitor the number and characteristics of children with ASD, track progress in the early identification of ASD, and describe health and service needs of adolescents with ASD.

Learn More

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network: www.cdc.gov/addm

Learn the Signs. Act Early. Program: www.cdc.gov/actearly