The following is a news analysis.
Around the year 2000, before autism became so routinely seen and diagnosed among children, if the American public had been told a serious affliction would be hitting America's children at a rate of one in every 50 babies... it might have led to understandable panic and demands to find the cause at any cost.
But autism has so seamlessly become a part of the American landscape, and the discussion so controlled by special interests, few are even raising eyebrows over today's unthinkable numbers.
And the establishment effort to try to deflect attention from the role vaccines play in the autism equation, according to many scientists and published studies, has dominated the media landscape. Instead, the predominant discussion centers on the mystery of it all, or the theoretical genetic and environmental causes. In fact, independent scientists and studies have long associated autism with vaccination, coupled with a particular child's genetic or biological susceptibilities.
The government's own chief pro-vaccine witness defending vaccine companies against autism injuries, himself, came to conclude that vaccines play a role in some cases of autism. He says when he said as much to the Dept. of Justice lawyers he worked for years ago, they covered up his findings and misrepresented his medical views as if he'd said the opposite. The government also notoriously, secretly settled a key vaccine-autism case while continuing to deny in public there was any possible link. News later leaked to the public. (Read more under Vaccines and Autism here.)
According to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 44 eight-year old children in the U.S. has autism or a related disorder. CDC says "this is higher than the previous estimate published in March 2020, which found a prevalence of 1 in 54 8-year old children."
The worst of it among 11 "surveillance sites" seems to be in California, according to the statistics gathered by the government, where more than 41 kids-per-thousand has autism. In Utah, it's more than 9-per-thousand. Some of the difference, say the analysts, could be in efforts to identify and diagnose the afflicted children.
According to the data:
- At every site, more boys than girls had autism
- Asian/Pacific Islander children had the highest rate among 4-year olds
- Hispanic children had the next-highest rate, followed by Blacks, then Whites with the lowest rate
The following is an excerpt from the analysis.
Results: For 2018, the overall ASD prevalence was 17.0 per 1,000 (one in 59) children aged 4 years. Prevalence varied from 9.1 per 1,000 in Utah to 41.6 per 1,000 in California. At every site, prevalence was higher among boys than girls, with an overall male-to-female prevalence ratio of 3.4. Prevalence of ASD among children aged 4 years was lower among non-Hispanic White (White) children (12.9 per 1,000) than among non-Hispanic Black (Black) children (16.6 per 1,000), Hispanic children (21.1 per 1,000), and Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI) children (22.7 per 1,000). Among children aged 4 years with ASD and information on intellectual ability, 52% met the surveillance case definition of co-occurring intellectual disability (intelligence quotient ≤70 or an examiner’s statement of intellectual disability documented in an evaluation). Of children aged 4 years with ASD, 72% had a first evaluation at age ≤36 months. Stratified by census-tract–level median household income (MHI) tertile, a lower percentage of children with ASD and intellectual disability was evaluated by age 36 months in the low MHI tertile (72%) than in the high MHI tertile (84%). Cumulative incidence of ASD diagnosis or eligibility received by age 48 months was 1.5 times as high among children aged 4 years (13.6 per 1,000 children born in 2014) as among those aged 8 years (8.9 per 1,000 children born in 2010). Across MHI tertiles, higher cumulative incidence of ASD diagnosis or eligibility received by age 48 months was associated with lower MHI. Suspected ASD prevalence was 2.6 per 1,000 children aged 4 years, meaning for every six children with ASD, one child had suspected ASD. The combined prevalence of ASD and suspected ASD (19.7 per 1,000 children aged 4 years) was lower than ASD prevalence among children aged 8 years (23.0 per 1,000 children aged 8 years).
Read the news announcement from CDC below:
Autism Prevalence Higher in CDC’s ADDM Network
Improvements being made in identifying children with autism early
One in 44 (2.3%) 8-year-old children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder according to an analysis of 2018 data published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summaries. This is higher than the previous estimate published in March 2020, which found a prevalence of 1 in 54 (1.9%) 8-year-old children. The 2018 data come from 11 communities in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network.
A second report on children born in 2014 (4-year-old children) in the same 11 communities shows progress in the early identification of children with autism. These children were 50% more likely to receive an autism diagnosis or special education classification by 48 months of age compared to children born in 2010 (8-year-olds).
“The substantial progress in early identification is good news because the earlier that children are identified with autism, the sooner they can be connected to services and support,” said Karen Remley, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Accessing these services at younger ages can help children do better in school and have a better quality of life.”
Racial and ethnic differences persist
In several of the 11 communities in the ADDM Network, fewer Hispanic children were identified with autism than Black or White children. In addition, a higher percent of Black children with autism were identified with intellectual disability compared to White or Hispanic children with autism. These differences could relate in part to access to services that diagnose and support children with autism. Understanding the prevalence and characteristics of children with autism can help communities work towards identifying all children with autism early and enrolling them in services.
Autism prevalence in the 11 ADDM communities ranged from 1 in 60 (1.7%) children in Missouri to 1 in 26 (3.9%) children in California. These variations could be due to how communities are identifying children with autism. Some communities have more services for children with autism and their families.
CDC’s ADDM network is a tracking system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of autism among 8-year-old and 4-year-old children in 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.
ADDM is not a representative sample of the United States. Previously, the ADDM reports were published every other year in the spring. However, in 2018, CDC updated and simplified the ADDM methodology and data system to directly reflect community identification of autism by healthcare provider diagnosis or special education eligibility. These changes provide similar prevalence estimates as the previous method and allow for faster publication of results.
Tools for Parents, Healthcare Providers, Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers
CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program provides free resources in English, Spanish, and other languages, to monitor children’s development starting at 2 months of age. CDC’s Milestone Tracker Mobile app can help parents and caregivers track their child’s development and share the information with their healthcare providers. For more information visit www.cdc.gov/ActEarly.