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Okay. Statistics suck. And they can be a bit overwhelming. Hang in there with me, though, okay? Some of these numbers might surprise you. Consider this your Public Service Announcement for the day. The CDC says:

  • About 1 in 68 children has been identified as having an ASD.
  • Boys are 5 times more likely to be autistic than girls.
  • The prevalence for boys is 1 in 42.
  • The prevalence for girls is 1 in 189.
  • About 1 in 6 children had a developmental disability in 2006 – 2008.
  • Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2%–18% chance of having a second child who is also affected.
  • About 10% of children with autism are also identified as having Down Syndrome, Fragile X, or other genetic and chromosomal disorders.
  • Almost half of children with an ASD have normal to above normal intelligence.
  • Children who are born to older parents are at greater risk.
  • It is estimated to cost $17,000 to $21,0000 more per year to care for a child with ASD compared to a child without ASD.
  • In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year.

Autism Society:

  • Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually.
  • More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.

Autism Speaks:

  • Out of the total 2012 budget for the National Institute of Health of $30.86 billion, only 0.55% went directly to autism research.

I have tried very hard to find definitive rates of autism worldwide to see if the US is unique. It’s very tiresome to slog through graph after graph only to realize you’re looking at some wacky site that links autism to asthma or a site that is only talking about the increase in publications about autism. Le sigh. I did find this, though:

Eww. A graph.

Eww. A graph.

And I did find the following:

  • In the UK, autism prevalence seems to be around 1.1% of the population.
  • An estimated 515,000 people in Canada have an ASD.
  • France: 1 in 150
  • Norway: 0.21% to 0.87% of the population
  • Saudi Arabia: 18 in 10,000 (very rough estimate as ASD studies in the Middle East are very rare due to social stigmas)
  • South Korea: estimated to be 2.64% of school age children. However, “In urban areas of South Korea, some families of children with developmental delays will go to great lengths to avoid a diagnosis of chapae, or autism. They think of it as a genetic mark of shame on the entire family, and a major obstacle to all of their children’s chances of finding suitable spouses. The stigma is so intense that many Korean clinicians intentionally misdiagnose these children with aechak changae, or reactive detachment disorder — social withdrawal that is caused by extreme parental abuse or neglect.” (SFARi.org)

Here endeth the statistics. We’ll talk some more soon. Go hug someone you love.

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