Autism is part of a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which are sometimes also referred to as pervasive developmental disorders. ASD range in severity, with autism being the most debilitating form while other disorders, such as Asperger syndrome, produce milder symptoms. ASD are characterized by deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and engagement in repetitive behaviors or interests.
The chart below shows 2006 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The most recent research from the ADDM finds that 1 in every 110 eight-year old children were diagnosable for an ASD. This rate differed among children depending on their racial and ethnic background. Non-Hispanic white children had the highest rate at 1 in 101. This compares to non-Hispanic black children with a rate of 1 in 139, and Hispanic children with a rate of 1 in 170.
Additional information about ASD can be found on NIMH’s autism spectrum disorders page.
Science News about Statistics
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS)
- National Institute of Mental Health's National Comorbidity Survey
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment Report