Autism Rates (Revisited)

(Originally posted as a Facebook post; reposting here nearly a month after the fact so that the information is easily linkable)

I want to direct everyone’s attention to 3 studies that were done with regards to prevalence rates and autism. These 3 studies are older but quite significant.

  1. South Korea prevalence study, May 2011: They looked at ALL students whether they had been provided with special education services prior or not. Large sample size of 55,000 students ages 7 through 12. They found the rate was 1 in 38.
  2. College students on the Autism Spectrum prevalence study, May 2011: The study looked at a large sample of 667 at a single university. The found the rate to be between .7% to 1.9% (more or less 1%) would meet the criteria for ASD. Particularly of note, this is all people who do not have a co-occurring intellectual disability (which would put the actual prevalence even higher).
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in England, May 2011:<wbr ‘);”http:=”””” releases=”” 2011=”” 05=”” 110502161404.htm”=””> They had a sample size of 7,461 respondents to the survey. They found the rate was 9.8 per 1000 adults (more or less 1% again). This was all in people who had never been evaluated or diagnosed with autism. IE, the prevalence rate would also have to be higher to account for those who were previously diagnosed.

If you use the latest CDC numbers (and the trend over the past many years) as a guide, you’ll see that a co-occurring ID or borderline ID only accounts for around50% of autism diagnoses. The two adults studies more or less remove the ID population from the study (college one specifically states this, English one implies it). So if we’re looking at these 1%, that can effectively be doubled when you put in the ASD/ID population. So 2% or 1 in 50. This is being pretty fuzzy with the numbers, but not enough to pull away from the fact that you can tell that Autism has been around and roughly the same rate for generations.

So why is this a good thing? It means that the actual CDC rates put out last week are coming closer to what the actual numbers are. It’s not an increase in how many children are autistic, but an increase in the amount of children being diagnosed. This is a good thing because it means more children are getting support because they are being identified. But we’re still missing a lot of kids.

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