The Marin Autism Population…Statistically Speaking

Occupational Therapy students at Dominican University recently completed a project for the Marin Autism Collaborative reporting the most recent statistics and trends regarding the Autism Spectrum population at the county, state and national levels. Data was compiled from sources such as the California Department of Education, the Pacific Autism Center for Education, and Golden Gate Regional Center, among others, and are represented in this document in brief talking points and visual aids.
Read the document here.

National Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control tracks the latest autism statistics on a national level. CDC estimates 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Track your child’s development and act early if you have a concern.

  • This marks a 23% increase since our last report in 2009. And, a 78% increase since our first report in 2007. Some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their local communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors in unknown.
  • The number of children identified with ASDs varied widely across the 14 ADDM Network sites, from 1 in 47 (21.2 per 1,000) to 1 in 210 (4.8 per 1,000).
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
  • The largest increases over time were among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). We suspect that some of this increase is due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups. However, this finding explains only part of the increase over time, as more children are being identified in all groups.
  • There were increases over time among children without intellectual disability (those having IQ scores above 70), although there were also increases in the estimated prevalence of ASDs at all levels of intellectual ability.
  • More children are being diagnosed at earlier ages—a growing number of them by age 3. Still,most children are not diagnosed until after they reach age 4, even though early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills. This is why CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program is essential. Through this program, CDC provides free tools to help parents track their child’s development and free resources for doctors and educators. CDC is also working with states and communities to improve early identification.
  • CDC also provided leadership in establishing Healthy People 2020 objectivesExternal Web Site Icon and supporting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendationExternal Web Site Icon that all children be screened by age 2, because early screening and diagnosis improve access to services during a child’s most critical developmental period.