Autism in Utah 8-year-olds far more prevalent than previously reported


Quinn, a boy with autism, and a line of toys he made before he fell asleep. Repeatedly stacking and arranging objects is generally an autism-related behavior. Credit: Wikipedia.

A 10-year prevalence of autism in 8-year-old Utah children, according to a survey of 11 communities across the country, including Salt Lake City and its surrounding counties, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Within that, it rose by nearly 30%. ). As reported in the current study, the prevalence of autism in 8-year-olds in the state increased from 1 in 58 in 2012 to 46 in 2018, when the last study was conducted here. It increased to about 1 person.

A study and companion report on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in 4-year-olds Weekly mortality and morbidity reports..

Researchers, including health scientists at the University of Utah, attribute much of the increase to increased awareness of disability, better diagnostic tools used to detect it, and improved access to health care. increase.

“The prevalence of autism in Utah is significantly higher than when we last measured it,” said Deborah Bilder, MD, co-author of the study and professor of children. I am saying. Adolescent psychiatry Pediatrics at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) at the University of Utah. The CDC considers 8 years to be the optimal age to determine the prevalence of ASD in the community. By that age, the builder will explain, Children Most likely to show recognizable symptoms of the disorder.

“I think the Utah legislation passed over the last decade has had a substantial positive impact on children’s access to autism diagnosis and treatment services,” says Builder. “This is especially true for low- and middle-income children.”

At Utah and several other sites across the country, the proportion of Hispanic children with ASD was lower than that of white or black children. This finding suggests that disparities in obtaining ethnic-based ASD diagnoses can be a problem, says Dr. Amanda Bakian. Co-author of the study, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at HMHI, and Principal Investigator of Utah ADDM Studies.

Prevalence of ASD is rising elsewhere in the United States

Overall, the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) network is one in 44 children aged 8 years living in 11 communities nationwide in 2018, compared to 1 in 54 in 2016. Concludes that has some form of ASD. Utah did not participate in the 2016 rating.

Estimates for current studies vary widely from region to region, from 1 in 60 children in Missouri to 1 in 26 in California. Researchers believe that these variations may be due to early detection and evaluation, geographical differences in diagnostic practices, and other differences in the documentation of ASD symptoms.

Early detection, the key to early treatment of ASD treatment

Scientists conclude that practices that improve early ASD identification and equitable access to services are important steps.

“Early diagnosis and treatment of autism optimizes children’s ability to learn, interact with others, and become self-reliant,” says Builder.

“That’s why these studies are so important,” says Bakian. “They not only help us better understand the epidemic of autism, but also improve policies, services and research aimed at helping children and their families affected by autism. It is also useful. “

In addition to Salt Lake County, Davis and Tooele counties were included in the Utah part of the study. Other participating communities were in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.Although the study spanned the entire country, researchers emphasize that their findings are snapshots of ASD in these communities, not national estimates. autism Prevalence in the United States.

The autism rate in the United States is 1 in 44.New Jersey accounts for 1 in 35 8-year-olds

For more information:
Kelly A. Shaw et al, Early Detection of Autism Spectrum Disorders in 4-year-olds — Autism and Developmental Disorder Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, USA, 2018, MMWR.Monitoring summary (2021). DOI: 10.15585 / mmwr.ss7010a1

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