We’re happy to be back here with you sharing stories of hope and inspiration and the latest news for us in the autism community. Since it’s been a little while, we thought we’d do a quick ‘snapshot’ of some of the latest stats as they’ve changed a bit in the last year or two.
Here’s where we are today:
- According to estimates from the CDC, 1 in 88 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- The CDC goes on to note that the above stat is a 23% increase since their last report in 2009, and a 78% increase since their first report in 2007.
- ASDs are almost 5 times more common in boys than girls.
- We still don’t know what causes autism. However, genes have now been identified as playing a larger role, with other potential factors being environmental exposures or certain features of brain structure.
- Vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine (often given around 12-15 months of age), have been a hotly debated topic with autism—with concerns around vaccines being a potential cause of autism. However, recent studies have found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism—and the original study published in The Lancet (1998) that triggered this concern was retracted in 2010.
- The CDC says more children are being diagnosed at earlier ages—a growing number (18%) of them by age 3. Still, most children are not diagnosed until after they reach age 4.
- Autism diagnosis is about to change. In May, the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be published—presenting new criteria for diagnosing autism. Additionally Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS will go away and new categories are going to be introduced.
We’ll soon be doing a deeper dive into the changes we’ll see with DSM-5—which will greatly impact the future of autism diagnosis, as well as some people who are currently part of the spectrum—so check back with us on that soon.