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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

CDC Finds More Preschoolers Have Autism

The number of 4-year-olds with the developmental disorder increased from 1 in 75 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 kids in 2014, according to data published late last week in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report out this month is among the first to detail the CDC’s findings on 4-year-olds. It is based on information collected by researchers at sites in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Some sites collected data in all three years, but others only participated part of the time.
Prevalence varied dramatically across the states studied. At the high end, New Jersey had a rate of 1 in 35 children with autism in 2014, nearly three times more than Missouri, which recorded the lowest rate. 
For the study, researchers relied on the criteria for autism outlined in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The definition was significantly altered in the manual’s fifth edition, which was adopted in 2013. When children studied in the 2014 data collection were evaluated using both definitions, the CDC report indicates that 20 percent more qualified for an autism diagnosis under the old criteria compared to the new version.
Future reports from the CDC’s autism surveillance network will rely exclusively on the DSM-5 criteria.
The CDC said it will continue to peg its official autism prevalence estimate using data from 8-year-olds. Those figures — most recently released last year — also put autism prevalence at 1 in 59 kids.