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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
    • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
    • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
    • Presence of symptoms in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and
    • Symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
  • ASD can range in impact from mild to significantly disabling.
  • The table below shows data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network*. The most recent findings from the ADDM Network (published April, 2016) show that in 2012:
    • Overall, an average of 1 in every 68 eight-year old children was identified as having ASD.
    • ASD is almost five times more common in boys (1 in 42) than in girls (1 in 189).
    • ASD is reported to occur in all racial and ethnic groups.
  • Additional information about ASD can be found on CDC's ASD website and on NIMH's Health and Education ASD website.

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* The ADDM Network is a group of programs funded by the CDC to estimate the number of children with ASD and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States. The ADDM Network prevalence estimates are based on data collected from health and special education records of 8-year old children living in 11 areas of the United States during 2012.