Posts tagged: cnn

Problems with CDC Autism Data Release?

Dear patients, parents, therapists, educators and other care-givers,

You may already know that Centers for Disease Control released new data about the prevalence of Autism across America this week.

Key takeaways from CDC:

  • About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. [Read article]
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethinic, and socioeconomic groups. [Read article]
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). [Read article]
  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. [Data table Adobe PDF file]
  • About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.  [Read article]


CNN’s medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta chimes in on the CDC Autism Data Release


BMI Comments:

  • The most important takeaway for me is that “1 in 88″ is “only” 1.1% of the 8-year old pediatric population in public schools. The greater apparent increase in cases is likely due primarily to better awareness and knowledge of ASD.
    • However, the criteria of diagnosis of autism are so broad (a spectrum, in fact), and getting broader in the next DSM-V, that more children than ever are being, and will be, diagnosed as Autistic due to broader criteria
    • Many children initially diagnosed with ASD actually have speech or language problems and not Autism. We already see this with a portion of our own patients.
    • Is the CDC later reviewing the cases of children initially diagnosed with Autism to verify that they still bear this diagnosis — that the initial “Autism” diagnosis was accurate or not? We don’t know.
  • We already know from our own patient evaluation and treatment experience that ASDs are more common in boys than girls.
  • We have also seen ASDs across different demographic groups – though with more representation in some groups than others. We will provide details at a later time.
  • We agree that older parents seem to lead to more cases of children with learning or socialization oddities/ differences from general population of children of younger parents, but do not see what can be done from a socioeconomic standpoint other than lowering one’s economic standards and expectations for childbearing.


There are already nearly 2,000 news articles presenting and commenting on the new CDC information and more by the time you read this post.  If you have any thoughts we are happy to hear them.  You may also call 415-561-6755 to speak with one of my colleagues or to schedule a consultation.


BMI Patient Adviser


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