1 in 68 with 1:5 girl-boy

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Another CDC post to add to your mix… forgive me…

CDC release

CDC Surveillance Summary

I want to state two things before I get into what I’m actually posting about.

  1. This is not an epidemic. (Statement can also be read as “Vaccines don’t cause autism.”)
  2. Yes, the data is from 2010, but that doesn’t make it outdated. Please remember that 2010 had to end. Individual sites had to compile their data. Those sites then had to send to the CDC. The CDC had to compile that data. Then CDC had to go through records. Then they had to come up with a way to present the information. Oversimplified, but I’d say 3 yrs to do all of this is great.

So my favorite part of the surveillance summary:

When data from all seven sites were combined, 229 (36%) of 633 girls with ASD had IQ scores or examiners’ statements indicating intellectual disability compared with 900 (30%) of 2,971 males (OR = 1.3, p<0.01).

Data on girls always changes… I’m never happy with it.. Most of the autistic parents I know are autistic moms, not autistic dads. I just have a hard time believing there’s really only 1 female to every 5 male autistic. I also believe whole-heartedly we’d get close to the 1 in 38 prevalence rate that we saw in the South Korean study if girls were adequately diagnosed.

I’m really happy that we got even these numbers on this report because in years past, they haven’t included it at all. I don’t remember if it was last year or the year prior, but I was on one of the phone calls and specifically asked for this breakdown. They said they didn’t have it broken down. I think IQ breakdown gives you a much clearer picture of where the disparities are.

The proportion of children classified in the range of intellectual disability also differed by race/ethnicity. Approximately 48% of black children with ASD were classified in the range of intellectual disability, compared with 38% of Hispanic children and 25% of white children.

Race is another area where there’s a large disparity in incidence rates. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but I think it’s significant that in these racial breakdowns you get a higher rate of Intellectually Disability.

Why is this significant to me? Because I believe girls with higher IQs and less behavior issues are much less likely to be diagnosed. It’s easier to catch a girl if her IQ is lower or she has more behavioral issues to warrant testing. Girls are more innately social because of society’s expectations. Likewise, with race, as you get higher IQs, prejudice sneaks its head in when considering behavior problems.

As this data is from children born in 2002, I’m expecting to continue to see increase in prevalence and a lowering of the ratio of boys to girls. I think within the past 5 years, we have seen a much better understanding of autism in both boys and girls along with more media attention in the past 10 years. As you get higher amount of media attention, more parents will be apt to get their children diagnosed because they will know those warning signs.

In 2009 AAP came out with updated policy with regards to screening for autism at 18 and 24 mos. The children who will have benefited from this updated policy will not turn 8 until 2015. Given the 3 years it takes to crunch the numbers, I don’t think we will come close to seeing accurate prevalence rates until 2019. Even then, I still think the data will be skewed towards boys as the tests are bias.

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