Autism facts

  • As many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism.
  • Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a rate of 10-17% per year. At these rates, it is estimated that the prevalence of autism could reach four million Americans in the next decade.
  • 60 billion in annual costs.┬áIn 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion.
  • Autism is now considered the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States.
  • Autism is more common than multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis or childhood cancer.
  • Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), a category of neurological disorders characterized by "severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development", including social interaction and communications skills.
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder.
  • The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe.
  • Autism is consistent around the globe, but is four times more prevalent in males than females.
  • Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries.
  • Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence.
  • The age that most children start showing symptoms of autism is between 18 and 24 months.
  • Since autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as 18 months of age, intervention can begin during the period when the brain is most malleable.
  • Early intervention can result in a significant increase in IQ and language ability and a decrease in support services needed later in childhood.
  • No one knows exactly what causes autism in most cases, but scientists think that both genetic and environmental factors might play a role.

References:
Autism Society of America
National Alliance for Autism Research
The New England Center for Children
Autism Center
University of Washington
Autism Information Center
Centers for Disease Control