The prevalence of parent-reported autism spectrum disorder for children ages 6 to 17 was 2% in 2012, up from 1.2% in 2007, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
The change in prevalence estimates was greatest for boys and for adolescents ages 14 to 17, according to the report, “Changes in Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-Aged Children: 2007 to 2011-12.”
Children who were first diagnosed in or after 2008 were more likely to have milder ASD and less likely to have severe ASD than those diagnosed in or before 2007.
Much of the increase in the prevalence estimates resulted from diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized ASD, not to differences in survey measurement error, the authors wrote.
Data for the report came from the National Survey of Childrens Health, a telephone survey of nearly 96,000 U.S. households. A PDF of the report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf.