Have You Seen These Autism Spectrum Statistics?

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There are many numbers and statistics regarding autism, aspergers, and the spectrum.  Putting it all together can be a little difficult.  What does it all mean?

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Prevalence

An average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an autism spectrum condition.

Based on information available to date, autism spectrum conditions are 4-5 more likely to occur in boys than in girls.

In comparing autism to aspergers in terms of prevalence,  the ratio is about 5:1, so that the prevalence of asperger may be .25 per 1000.

The exact prevalence rates have yet to be determined, but research suggests that it may be as common as one in 250.

Overall, it’s not clear what the exact prevalence is, given the variance of statistics from many different sources. You can read very strong opinion of why this is from Mark Blaxill at Age of Autism.

Autism Spectrum Statistics from Around the World

Here are some international statistics I obtained from Aspergers.Com

* In a total population study of children between ages 7-16 in Goteborg, Sweden, minimum prevalence of Asperger’s Disorder was 36/10,000 (55/10,000 of all boys, and 15/10,000 of all girls), and the male/female ratio was 4:1.

* The prevalence of autism has traditionally been estimated around 4-5/10,000.  A recent study from United Kingdom found the prevalence of autism at 17/10,000, and the prevalence of all Autistic Spectrum Disorders (including autism) at 63/10,000.

I found this article that lists an estimate of the incidence of autism spectrum disorders by country across the world.  These are only estimates, not to be taken as completely accurate, but you may find the article helpful.

Autism Spectrum Diagnosis Statistics

The median age of earliest autism spectrum diagnosis is between 4.5 to 5.5 years, but for 51-91 percent of children with autism spectrum conditions, developmental concerns had been recorded before 3 years of age.

Research shows that a diagnosis of autism at age 2 can be reliable, valid, and stable. Despite this evidence, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older.

Public Education

The diagnosis of autism spectrum was added as a special education exception in 1991 and is now the sixth most commonly utilized diagnosis in the United States.

The other 5 classifications, for Special Education as of 2003, were:

* Specific learning disabilities (2,866,908 children served)
* Speech or language impairments (1,129,260 children served)
* Mental retardation (582,663 children served)
* Emotional disturbance (484,479 children served)
* Other health impairments, which often includes children diagnosed with ADHD (452,442 children served).
# The prevalence of autism has traditionally been estimated around 4-5/10,000.  A recent study from United Kingdom found the prevalence of autism at 17/10,000, and the prevalence of all Autistic Spectrum Disorders (including autism) at 63/10,000.

A Wrap-Up:  Some Miscellaneous Statistics Regarding Autism in the United States of America

1 in 250 births

1 to 1.5 million Americans

Fastest-growing developmental disability

10 – 17% annual growth

Growth comparison during the 1990s

- U.S. population increase: 13%
- Disabilities increase: 16%
- Autism increase: 172%

$90 billion annual cost

90% of costs are in adult services

Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention

Resources Cited:

Autism Statistics from EMedtv

CDC – Data and Statistics, Autism Spectrum Conditions

Wikipedia article, Asperger Syndrome

Wikipedia article, Autism

photo credit: numbers by studio muscle

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About Stephen Borgman

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