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Prevalence Rate in New Jersey Rises to 1 in 41

National Rate Remains Unchanged at 1 in 68

March 31, 2016 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report today showing the rate of children identified with an autism spectrum disorder remains at 1 in 68 children nationally.  This statistic is based on the CDC's evaluation of health and educational records of 8-year-old children in 2012 in 11 states, including New Jersey.  

New Jersey again has the highest rates of those states evaluated:  with 1 in 41 children (2.5% of children). This percentage is higher than the average percentage identified with ASD (1.5%) in all communities in the United States where CDC tracked ASD in 2012. The New Jersey rate marks an increase of 12% from the previous 1 in 45 statistic released two years ago.  

  • Gender:  The report shows that autism prevalence is 4.5 times higher in boys than girls, with 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls (nationally) identified with an ASD in this latest report.
  • Age of Diagnosis:  Even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2 years, most children were not diagnosed with ASD by a community provider until after age 3 years and 11 months.
  • Underserved Populations:  The study also identified significant disparities in the evaluation and diagnosis of ASD. For example, children with ASD from minority and low-income communities were less likely to receive a professional evaluation before 36 months.  
  • IQ:  Among children identified with ASD who had IQ scores available, about a third also had intellectual disability. 
  • Methodology:  We now have a more than a decade of surveillance data utilizing consistent methodology that presents a clear picture of the trends since 2000.   It should be noted that all studies utilized DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.   CDC Prevalence Trend 2000 to 2012

New Jersey Analysis

2.5 children in NJ have ASD

The CDC estimates that approximately 2.5% or more of children from birth to 21 years of age have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in New Jersey.

Why is New Jersey's rate the highest?  Autism is a complex condition. No single factor can explain why more children are being identified with ASD, although a combination of genetic and environmental factors play a role. In addition, some of the increase in the rates over the years may be due to: changes in the diagnosis and treatment, greater awareness, and better record keeping.  For more information, page 3 of the CDC’s Community Report on Autism (2016) offers an overview of factors that have strong evidence and those that are suspected causes of autism.

The Importance of Schools:  A greater percentage of children were identified with ASD when combining all ADDM Network sites that reviewed both health and special education records than when combining all ADDM Network sites that reviewed only health records. New Jersey reviewed both health and education records, which contributed to the higher rate.  This also underscores the pivotal role schools play in evaluating and serving children with ASD.

Supporting the Underserved:  The study also showed that minority and low-income communities were less likely to receive a professional evaluation before 36 months.  According to the New Jersey study's lead investigator, Dr. Walter Zahorodny of the New Jersey Autism Study (NJAS), “concerted public health education campaigns, especially if accompanied by broad use of reliable autism screeners, can make a big difference in this regard, with improved early detection of ASD leading to earlier, more focused and hopefully more effective interventions.” NJAS is developing such a campaign for select New Jersey regions.  The study showed that white and black children were more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children. No significant differences were found between the percentage of white and black children with ASD. 

A Call to Action

The newly released prevalence estimates are an urgent call to action to establish and expand more high-quality educational programs and treatment services for children with autism. Through our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline, we are hearing from more and more parents of children with disabling social, communication, and behavioral challenges. These challenges range from impaired every day interactions to a severely limited ability to do the things other children their age do so easily. Children with these and other challenges are in desperate need of individualized and effective support services. Their families also need support to understand their children’s educational rights and the ways to pay for medically necessary services such as private insurance.  Autism New Jersey is here to help.

Additional Resources

800.4.AUTISM Helpline

Autism New Jersey Publications:

Autism: Start Here (also available Spanish)
Autism for Public School Administrators: What You Need to Know


History of CDC Autism Prevalence Study Results

More than a Decade of Data

With the report released in April 2016, we now have a more than a decade of surveillance data utilizing consistent methodology that presents a clear picture of the trends since 2000. Here are the numbers:

1 in 68 (US); 1 in 41 (NJ)
Report Year: 2016
Surveillance Year:  2012

CDC’s ADDM Network reported that about 1 in 68 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2012). Data from 11 AADM Network Sites were reviewed, including New Jersey. New Jersey's rate was approx. 24.6 per 1,000 or 1 in 41.  See 2016 Report.

1 in 68 (US); 1 in 45 (NJ)
Report Year: 2014
Surveillance Year:  2010

CDC’s ADDM Network reported that about 1 in 68 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2010). Data from 11 AADM Network Sites were reviewed, including New Jersey. New Jersey's rate was approx. 21.9 per 1,000 or 1 in 45.  See 2014 Report.

1 in 88 (US); 1 in 49 (NJ)
Report Year: 2012
Surveillance Year:  2008

CDC’s ADDM Network reported that about 1 in 88 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2008). Data from 14 AADM Network Sites were reviewed, including New Jersey. New Jersey's rate was approx. 20.5 per 1,000 or 1 in 49.  See 2012 Report.

1 in 110 (US)
Report Year: 2009
Surveillance Year:  2006 

CDC’s ADDM Network reported that about 1 in 110 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2006).  
Data from 11 AADM Network Sites were reviewed.  New Jersey was not included in this report.  See 2009 Report.

1 in 150 (US); 1 in 94 (NJ) 
Report Year: 2007
Surveillance Year:  2002

CDC’s ADDM Network reported that about 1 in 150 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2002). 
Data from 14 AADM Network Sites were reviewed, including New Jersey. New Jersey's rate was approx. 10.6 per 1,000 or 1 in 94. This report combined results from 2002 with those from 2000.  See 2007 Report.

1 in 166 (US); 1 in 101 (NJ)
Report Year: 2007
Surveillance Year:  2000

CDC’s ADDM Network first reported that about 1 in 166 children had an ASD (based on children who were 8 years old in 2000).  
Data from 6 AADM Network Sites were reviewed, including New Jersey.  New Jersey's rate was approx. 9.9 per 1,000 or 1 in 101.  This report combined results from 2000 with the data from 2002.  See 2007 Report.


Other Prevalence Studies/Surveys

National Health Interview Survey -- 1 in 45 (US)

Report Date: November 13, 2015
Survey Period: 2014
Report:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr087.pdf

Statistics as reported by parents of school-aged children (ages 3-17 years) in 2014.  Survey sample size was approximately 13,000.  Conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and funded by the CDC.  Although the data reflects an increase from previous study (see below), the researchers conclude that revised question ordering and new approach to askingabout developmental disabilities in the 2014 survey likely affected the prevalence estimates of these conditions. In previous years, it is likely that some parents of children diagnosed with ASD reported this developmental disability as other DD instead of, or in addition to, ASD. Following these changes, the 2014 ASD estimate was more similar to ASD prevalence estimates from other sources.

National Survey of Children's Health -- 1 in 50 (US)

Report Date:  March 20, 2013
Survey Period:  2011 to 2012
Report:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf

Statistics as reported by parents of school-aged children (ages 6–17 years) in 2011–2012.  Data were drawn from the 2007 and 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), which are independent nationally representative telephone surveys of households with children. The surveys were conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics with funding and direction from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.  Prior report of data from 2007 survey indicated a rate of 1 in 86 children (ages 6-17).

 



AUTISM NEW JERSEY
500 Horizon Drive, Suite 530 Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Phone: 609.588.8200; 800.4.AUTISM | Fax: 609.588.8858
Email: information@autismnj.org

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