New research came out today in the American Journal of Psychiatry on autism
prevalence rates. In this study conducted in Seoul, South Korea researchers started by
sending out 55,266 screening questionnaires to parents and teachers of children between
the ages 7 and 12. They received 23, 234 responses from the regular education system
(in addition to 294 students already identified through special education). Of these
students 1, 214 received positive results from the screening and 286 of these received
a full clinical evaluation. of the 286 students who were evaluated, 201 were diagnosed
as being on the autism spectrum. Based on their mathematical calculations they
estimated that 1 in 38 children in this city have an autism spectrum disorder.
Click here for the full article.
The authors were surprised by a couple of things found in the study. Firstly, more girls
were identified that the current numbers suggest and two thirds of the children had not
previously been identified. This could be partly be due to cultural differences, but
the authors expect that if we used similar research strategies here in the United States
that our numbers would actually be pretty similar (regarding the number of children
with the disorder). Currently the CDC is considering doing a similar analysis, but this
research has not yet started. Clearly this study suggests that we have a lot more
research to do and that this disorder is prevalent throughout the world and across
ethnic and geographic boundaries. Very interesting things to think about.