The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published its 2014 Community Report on Autism. Written for a lay audience, the report summarizes the technical study behind the CDC’s new estimate of autism prevalence in the United States: 1 in 68 children.
The Community Report provides background on how the CDC conducted the surveillance study, the results of which were published last month. In state-by-state sections, the report also provides key findings on autism in the 11 communities involved in the research.
Autism Speaks President Liz Feld was among the national autism advocates invited to provide perspective in the Community Report. Feld writes:
The numbers in the CDC’s report represent real children in every neighborhood across the country. They need access to proven behavioral therapies. They need educational support. Many need better medicines to manage their most disabling symptoms. And we need far more research to improve our understanding and treatment of autism and its complexity of related medical conditions.
We know that the earlier we diagnose autism and intervene with effective therapies, the better the outcomes. But while autism can be reliably identified by age 2, the average age of diagnosis in our country lags behind. For minority populations, the delay is even greater. Even after a parent, teacher, or physician raises concerns about autism, many of our children must wait months for a full evaluation and diagnosis. And even then, high-quality services remain out of reach for far too many families.