U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

In 2007, the parents of 1.0 percent of children reported that their child had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and that they currently had the disorder. ASD includes a range of diagnoses, including Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Children with autism have delays in language, communication, and social skills, while children with Asperger’s disorder have impaired social skills but do not have speech or language delays. They often have an intense interest in a single subject or topic as well. Children with PDD have severe and persistent delays in language, communication, and social skills.

Autism spectrum disorders are four times more common among males than females. In 2007, 1.7 percent of male children were reported by parents to have an ASD, compared to 0.4 percent of female children. There is also a racial/ ethnic disparity in the prevalence of ASD. The parents of 1.2 percent of non-Hispanic White children reported that their child had an ASD in 2007, compared to 1.0 percent of Hispanic children, and 0.6 percent of non-Hispanic Black children.

In 2007, the parents of 0.6 percent of children reported that their child had been diagnosed with an ASD in the past but that the child did not currently have the condition. This varied by race/ethnicity, with 0.3 percent of Hispanic children, 0.6 percent of non-Hispanic White children, and 1.2 percent of non- Hispanic Black children having a previous, but not current, ASD diagnosis (data not shown).

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