Autism Statistics

Autism statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that cases of autism spectrum disorder have risen over the past several years. Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is the term used to describe a number of developmental disabilities that stem from a problem within the brain.

Autism is the most common form of ASD, and it is now prevalent in 1 out of 150 children in America, according to the CDC's 2007 autism statistics. This number is even higher for boys, where nearly 1 out of 94 have autistic disorder. And those numbers are rising, as is evidenced by autism statistics provided by the CDC and other organizations. Here are the facts and figures that have been discovered over the past several years:

• Autism is usually diagnosed before a child turns three years old, but symptoms have been noted as early as four months.

• Autism is a lifelong disability and life expectancy of autistic individuals is normal.

• Anywhere from 10-20 out of every 10,000 people are affected by autism.

• Estimates show that 1-1.5 million Americans have some form of ASD.

• Autism is currently the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, with an annual growth rate of 10-17 percent.

• In the United States, a new case of autism is identified almost every 20 minutes.

• In the past 10-15 years, cases of autism have risen 172 percent. In this same amount of time, the U.S. population grew 13 percent, and cases of disabilities rose 16 percent.

• Care of autistic individuals costs approximately $90 billion per year. This dollar amount is expected to more than double, or even quadruple, over the next five years.

• Early diagnosis of autism can cut down on costs for lifelong care by about two-thirds.

• About half of autistic people score less than 50 on IQ tests; 20 percent score between 50 and 70, and 30 percent get a score over 70. Only a very small percentage of people with autism are savants, showing genius-level abilities in a particular area.

• About 17 percent of all children have some type of developmental disability.

• Autism became a special education exceptionality in 1991, and it is the sixth most commonly found disability acknowledged in public schools today.

• Autism is diagnosed more frequently than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and all forms of childhood cancer combined.

Autism statistics are always changing as research and observation is completed and shared. The growing numbers have led to some societal concern, and hopefully this will lead to new treatments and eventually a cure.

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