By Dr. Bob Sears
The National Health Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released a new report featuring the parent survey rates of developmental disabilities including autism (1.) This report should raise serious concern. Here is what the report found:
“The previous 2014 survey demonstrated the rate of autism at 1 in 45 (2.24% of the U.S. population.) In 2015, this has risen slightly to 1 in 43. This 2016 survey shows the highest rate ever recorded – 1 in 36 children (2.76%).”
Another key finding included:
“During 2014-2016 the prevalence of children aged 3-17 years who had ever been diagnosed with any developmental disability increased from 5.76% to 6.99%”
That’s 1 in 14 kids. 1 in 14. This report is hard to digest. My heart is in my throat. The rapid increase of prevalence of autism and developmental disabilities should stop any human in their tracks.
What is important to note is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculates the rate differently. The CDC uses a different set of data to keep track of autism rates (surveillance reports from 11 states) and their current surveillance research has shown a lower rate of autism: 1 in 68. We have written about that on the TACAnow blog before (2.)
In the past, the CDC often does not typically adopt this NCHS survey as the official autism prevalence rate.
It is also important to note how the CDC calculates the rate of autism. Their rate is based on very old data (3.) With each CDC report we wait four years until the information is made available.
Back in November 2000, TACA was established when the rate of autism was 1 in 500 (4.) That was up sharply from the 1970-1980’s prevalence of 1—2 in every 10,000 U.S. children being diagnosed with autism.
Since 2000, funding and support for autism is not meeting the basic needs of families. The autism epidemic is not being addressed in a meaningful way. On the TACAnow blog we have outlined what is needed for families living with autism (5.) What we do know is families are handling autism in their own homes, with their own money, with little to support them. I do not understand why we don’t see more progress and support for families living with autism.
At some point, this continued rise in serious developmental disabilities should push action. We should ask “what does the number need to be for people to get concerned?”
- 2016 NCHS report https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db291.pdf
- Previous blogs on autism prevalence increases:
- How is the CDC autism rate calculated: https://tacanowblog.com/2015/01/12/is-the-cdc-is-stepping-up-autism-monitoring/
- Autism prevalence over the years: https://www.tacanow.org/about-autism/latest-autism-statistics-2/
- What is the plan for autism: https://tacanowblog.com/2016/01/20/presidential-candidates-what-should-their-autism-plan-include/
For more information about Dr. Bob Sears, please see: https://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/physician-advisory-board/