One in 36 ?2.8 percent? 8-year-old children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder "ASD," according to an analysis published last week in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC.
The new findings are higher than the previous 2018 estimate that found a prevalence of 1 in 44 ?2.3 percent?. The data comes from 11 communities in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network ?ADDM? and are not representative of the entire United States.
A second report on 4-year-olds in the same 11 communities highlights the impact of COVID-19 and shows disruptions in progress in early detection of autism.
The study specifies that, in the first months of the pandemic, 4-year-old children were less likely to undergo an evaluation or be identified with ASD than 8-year-old children when they were the same age. This coincides with disruptions in child care and healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Disruptions due to the pandemic in the timely assessment of children and delays in connecting children to the services and supports they need could have long-lasting effects," said Karen Remley, director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Disabilities. of CDC Development.
"The data in this report can help communities better understand how the pandemic affected the early identification of autism in young children and anticipate future needs as these children grow," she added.
Demographic changes among children identified with autism
The prevalence of ASD among Asian, African-American, and Hispanic children was at least 30 percent higher in 2020 than in 2018, while among white children it was 14.6 percent higher than in 2018.
For the first time, the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander ?3.3 percent?, Hispanic ?3.2 percent?, and African American ?2.9 percent? children identified with autism was higher than among white 8-year-olds ?2.4 percent. hundred?. This is the opposite of the racial and ethnic differences seen in previous reports of ADDM for 8-year-olds. However, these changes may reflect better detection, awareness, and access to services among historically underserved groups.
Moreover, the analysis points out that disparities for co-occurring intellectual disability have persisted, and a higher percentage of African-American children with autism and intellectual disability were identified compared to White, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander children with autism.
These differences, he said, could be partly related to access to services that diagnose and support children with autism.
Overall, the prevalence of autism within ADDM sites was nearly four times higher for boys than for girls. Still, this is the first ADDM report in which the prevalence of autism among 8-year-old girls has exceeded 1 percent.
Notably, the prevalence of autism in the 11 ADDM communities ranged from 1 in 43 ?2.3 percent? in children in Maryland to 1 in 22 ?4.5 percent? in California.
Established in 2000, the ADDM Network is the only network that tracks the number and characteristics of children with autism and other developmental disabilities in various communities across the United States. Provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of autism among children ages 8 to 4 in 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
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