Autism Prevalence: Can It Be 1 in 50?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 View Comments Autism Speaks

This blog post is by John Elder Robison and was originally posted on Psychology Today.

One of the first presentations at today’s IACC meeting explained the recent NCHS survey that found a 1 in 50 prevalence of autism in American school children. Stephen Blumberg from CDC and Michael Kogan from HRSA presented their findings and answered questions.

There has been a lot of talk about this study in the media these past few weeks. I was happy to have a chance to ask the project leaders some questions about their work.

One of the most significant points the researchers made was this: Their research methodology differed quite a bit from the CDC methodology that led to last year’s 1 in 88 report. That makes it impossible to compare the studies – and their results – directly. However, we can compare this study to itself, since it was done before, in 2007. The methodology between 2007 and last year did not change, yet the observed prevalence rose dramatically (1 in 90 rose to 1 in 50). Both researchers felt this change from one survey cycle to another was significant.

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