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Nov
13

CDC releases new study showing increase in autism prevalence rate

CDClogowebA new study was released yesterday by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, which identified a prevalence rate of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as 1:45. This study is getting a lot of national attention, but it is important to note that this new number was not arrived at by the same methodology that led to the 1:68 finding, as identified in 2014 by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. What does this mean? In short, the two prevalence rates cannot be compared as “apples to apples.”

CDClogowebA new study was released yesterday by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, which identified a prevalence rate of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as 1:45. This study is getting a lot of national attention, but it is important to note that this new number was not arrived at by the same methodology that led to the 1:68 finding, as identified in 2014 by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. What does this mean? In short, the two prevalence rates cannot be compared as “apples to apples.”

While the data collection methodology in these studies differs, it is not important whether the “correct” number is 1:45, or 1:68, or something else completely. What is important is that the number of individuals diagnosed with ASD has increased in recent years, and the focus needs to be on making certain adequate resources, services, and supports are accessible to individuals in their communities. We need to help people with autism realize their rights to obtain employment, appropriate housing, and the ability to pursue goals and aspirations that are right for them, as individuals.

The Autism Society of Minnesota remains committed to advocating for all those with ASD across the entire lifespan, to ensure they are afforded the basic rights to maximize their quality of life and live in a world where they are respected and valued.

Jonah Weinberg
Autism Society of Minnesota Executive Director

To view the original CDC reports from which the differing prevalence numbers were derived, click on the following links.

ADDM Network Surveillance Year 2010 (1:68, released March 2014)

Estimated Prevalence of Autism in 2014 (1:45, released in November 2015)