Friday, January 9, 2015

CDC Stepping Up Autism Monitoring Efforts

As federal officials launch a new round of autism surveillance, they’re looking at more than prevalence alone, with plans to track diagnostic changes, younger kids and other disabilities. Researchers at 10 sites across the country will comb data from 2014 to determine up-to-date autism rates in their communities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this month. As in the past, the 10 sites selected for the 2014 data collection will scrutinize medical and educational records for 8-year-old children in their area to determine how many fall on the autism spectrum. Meanwhile, six of the sites will also assess records for 4-year-old children. But the records review will use two lenses — examining each case to determine if a child would qualify for an autism diagnosis under the current criteria in the DSM-5 and under the somewhat different definition in the manual’s previous edition. What’s more, the CDC is asking research sites to collect information about how communities are using prevalence data. “We’re really interested in what does this mean for communities? How are they using these numbers in terms of services and in terms of who’s getting the services?” Yeargin-Allsopp said.

 Read more here.