Washington, DC – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remains unchanged; 1 in 68 children have been identified as having a diagnosis on the autism spectrum between 2010 and 2012.
“While the data does not indicate an increase in autism prevalence, this does not mean that the numbers have stabilized. Previously, we have seen periods in which prevalence has remained unchanged. Between 2000 and 2002, the prevalence rate of 1 in 150 held steady, but was then followed by a dramatic rise that continued for a decade.
“The most important thing to take away from this report is the need for early diagnosis and intervention. It is concerning that minorities, specifically black and Hispanic populations, continue to be more likely to receive a diagnosis years after their white peers. The earlier a developmental evaluation takes place, the sooner individuals and their families can begin receiving early intervention supports. Another area for improvement is access to high-quality, affordable developmental services in the community. The Arc strongly believes that all children who have been identified with autism or other disabilities deserve this access to appropriate services.
“The numbers may not have changed, but this report gives us much to think about and data to strengthen our calls to action for more resources and earlier intervention,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.
ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that are often diagnosed in early childhood and can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges over a lifetime. Chapters of The Arc across the country provide services and supports for people with autism and their families.
The Arc’s national office has several programs for persons with ASD: Autism Now: The National Autism Resource and Information Center; Wings for Autism, a national airport rehearsal program for people with autism or other developmental disabilities, and their families; and The Arc@Work, a program that develops innovative workforce solutions for the government and private sector by connecting employers with talented employees with autism or other disabilities and supporting the recruitment, on-boarding, and retention process.
Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.