Who Does Autism Affect?

Autism and other ASDs can be found in people all around the world and among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1 in 100 and 1 in 300 – with an average of 1 in 150 – children in the United States have an ASD. The disorder occurs four times more often in boys (usually the first-born) than in girls, with one in every 94 boys diagnosed with autism or another ASD. However, girls with the disorder generally have more severe symptoms and greater intellectual impairment.

As many as 1.5 million Americans today may be affected with autism. Of interest is the fact that more people than ever are being diagnosed with autism or another ASD. Government statistics indicate that the rate of autism is rising between 10 and 17 percent each year. According to the CDC, of the approximately four million infants born every year, 24,000 of them will ultimately be diagnosed as autistic. What accounts for this startling rise? It could be that much of this increase stems from newer (and broader) definitions of ASDs, as well as more targeted efforts at diagnosis. For example, a child who is diagnosed with autism today may have been considered merely “odd” 20 or 30 years ago. But it could also be that there has been an actual increase in the number of people with an ASD. Many experts believe that the explanation is likely to be found in a combination of these factors.

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Centers for Disease Control