Sunday, February 11, 2007

When Is Autism Diagnosed? A Factoid From New CDC Study

When do we get the word that this is autism we're dealing with? Parents know the answer to this question is one of the most important issues facing them and their child with an autism spectrum disorder. It's the starting line for a very long and important effort to get this person help.

The Centers for Disease Control's latest study on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders collected data in 14 states. Researchers studied 8-year-olds born in 1994, and age of diagnosis is one of the pieces of data they collected. The CDC study (a PDF version is available by clicking here) showed that the median age range of earliest reported autism spectrum diagnosis was 4 years, 1 month in Utah, and 5 years, 6 months in Alabama. Here is the 14-state list:

State: Median age of ASD diagnosis

Utah: 4 years, 1 month

North Carolina : 4 years, 5 months

West Virginia: 4 years, 6 months

Wisconsin: 4 years, 6 months

New Jersey: 4 years, 7 months

Missouri: 4 years, 8 months

Georgia: 4 years, 10 months

Pennsylvania: 4 years, 10 months

Arkansas: 4 years, 11 months

Maryland: 5 years

Arizona: 5 years, 3 months

Colorado: 5 years, 4 months

South Carolina: 5 years, 4 months

Alabama: 5 years, 6 months

Reading these numbers is heartbreaking because they seem so high. It's important to note that this data is from 2002 and that they represent median numbers (half of the diagnoses are earlier than the age cited, half are later). Still, I wonder if the ages for median diagnosis are different after 2002, are earlier now that there's been more awareness of autism, among medical professionals, educators, the media, society in general. If anyone has seen more recent data or research on this topic, let me know and I will share it.

1 comment:

Maddy said...

Yet you hear of so many cases being diagnosed younger and younger, lets hope that the trend moves in that direction.
Best wishes