Autism Awareness Month – The Statistics

April is the annual autism awareness month in the United States of America. As a part of CelebMix Cares, we have collected some of the statistics on the condition, which we hope will help you understand the seriousness of autism.

It is important to know that each individual with autism is unique. Many people on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 % have average to above average intellectual abilities. About one % of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. Prevalence in the United States is estimated at one in 68 births. More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. According to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, about one in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (one in 42) than among girls (one in 189). About one in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. A majority of costs in the U.S. are in adult services – $175-196 billion, compared to $61-66 billion for children. The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability or $1.4 million for a person without an intellectual disability. Five % of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. (The average cost of educating a student is about $12,000) In June 2014, only 19.3 % of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 % were unemployed; which means only 16.8 % of the population with disabilities was employed. (By contrast, 69.3 % of people without disabilities were in the labor force, and 65 % of the population without disabilities was employed.)

Studies have shown that among identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other will be affected about 36-95% of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other is affected about 0-31% of the time. Parents who have a child with ASD have a two %–18% chance of having a second child who is also affected. ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions. About 10% of children with autism are also identified as having Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, or other genetic and chromosomal disorders. Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.

Right now, there isn’t a medical test that can diagnose autism. Instead, specially trained physicians and psychologists administer autism-specific behavioral evaluations. Often parents are the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviors such as failing to make eye contact, not responding its name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways. The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Thank you to Autism Society and CDC for the statistics.

Written by Josephine Sjelhøj

CelebMix Editor

Obsessed with 90's tv shows

Twitter: @_JosephineS