• Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Recent Autism Diagnosis Statistics:

    • About 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.
    • ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
    • ASD is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189). 
    • About 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism. 

    Risk Factors and Characteristics:

    • Studies have shown that among identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other will be affected about 36-95% of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other is affected about 0-31% of the time.
    • Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2%–18% chance of having a second child who is also affected.
    • ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions. About 10% of children with autism are also identified as having Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, or other genetic and chromosomal disorders.
    • Almost half (about 44%) of children identified with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.
    • Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having ASD. 
    • A small percentage of children who are born prematurely or with low birth weight are at greater risk for having ASD.
    • ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurologic, chromosomal, and genetic diagnoses. The co-occurrence of one or more non-ASD developmental diagnoses is 83%. The co-occurrence of one or more psychiatric diagnoses is 10%. 


    • Research has shown that a diagnosis of autism at age 2 can be reliable, valid, and stable.
    • Even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2 years, most children are not diagnosed with ASD until after age 4 years.
    • Studies have shown that parents of children with ASD notice a developmental problem before their child's first birthday. Concerns about vision and hearing were more often reported in the first year, and differences in social, communication, and fine motor skills were evident from 6 months of age.

    Economic Costs:

    • The total costs per year for children with ASD in the United States were estimated to be between $11.5 billion - $60.9 billion (2011 US dollars). This significant economic burden represents a variety of direct and in-direct costs, from medical care to special education to lost parental productivity.
    • Children and adolescents with ASD had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without ASD by $4,110 – $6,200 per year.
    • In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 - $60,000 per child per year. 

    Facts about ASD:

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.  A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

    Signs and Symptoms:

    People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

    Children or adults with ASD might:

    • not point at objects to show interest 
    • not look at objects when another person points at them
    • have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
    • avoid eye contact and want to be alone
    • have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
    • prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
    • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
    • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
    • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
    • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
    This information was taken directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.