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Autism Prevalence Now 1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys

New CDC Study Shows Average Autism Prevalence Up 23% From 2009 Study

Boston, MA –  A study out today from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) indicates autism now affects an alarming one in 88 children, (one in 54 boys) a sharp jump from the previous numbers released in late 2009, and a frighteningly distant rate from one in 10,000 cases seen in the 1980s.

Today’s study, conducted by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network office of the CDC, looked at eight-year-old children born in 2000. A previous study released by ADDM in 2009 showed autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affected one in 110 children. The number of children identified with ASDs in this study ranged from one in 210 children in Alabama to one in 47 children in Utah.  CDC reports that the largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.

According to a CDC press release issued today, “One thing the data tells us with certainty – there are many children and families who need help,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children.”

The National Autism Association again calls for swift government action, including the declaration of the autism epidemic as a national health crisis.  An immediate, strategic focus on prevention, treatment and support is critical.


  • Genetics alone cannot explain the rise in autism. Proper study into environmental cofactors should be a top priority among our government, researchers and Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).
  • This latest study confirms that the number of children diagnosed with autism continued to rise among those born in 2000, before the removal of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal from most routine childhood vaccines.  The findings are also consistent with recent studies 1, 2 indicating an association between the hepatitis B vaccine and brain damage.
  • Parents have consistently stated that regression in their child occurred following immunizations. Further research on the increased use of vaccines is warranted and should be conducted with significant stakeholder input. Obvious research that has been ignored, such as health outcomes in vaccinated versus non-vaccinated populations must be undertaken.
  • Certain subgroups may be more susceptible to environmental regression, including those with a family history of autoimmune disorders, premature infants, and children who are ill at the time of vaccination. Researching ways to decrease adverse reactions while increasing the safety of vaccines benefits the overall health of the general public.


  • Children with autism have underlying medical conditions that often go missed, dismissed or misunderstood. These conditions deserve the full attention of our government health agencies and medical research community. A recently published review of the world’s medical literature strongly implicates biochemical abnormalities including oxidative stress, immune dysregulation or inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction and toxic exposures. 3
  • Physicians should be sure and listen to each caregiver’s account of any medical issues their child with autism may have and not presume it to be behavioral.
  • Treatment, services and therapies should be available to all individuals with autism. Insurance coverage for co-morbid medical conditions should be mandated nationwide.
  • Studies on children who significantly progressed or completely lost a classic autism diagnosis should be conducted to uncover biological underpinnings.
  • Clinical studies on promising treatments are necessary.


  • Wandering-related deaths remain on the rise among children diagnosed with autism. A wandering prevention protocol should be in the hands of pediatricians to increase awareness & education. Just yesterday, yet another child with autism drowned after wandering away from a safe setting.
  • School systems are overwhelmed by increased autism rates. Our community is in critical need of additional and properly trained special education personnel.
  • Cameras in special education classrooms are crucial.
  • Families are often unable to pay for basic speech and occupational therapies. Government aide is needed for these struggling families.
  • We will soon be faced with a disproportionate number of diagnosed adults in need of housing, job assistance, and lifetime care. Preparation should begin immediately and resources allocated accordingly.
  • A national strategy for autism is long overdue, as is a central federal web site dedicated to autism programs, assistance and information.

“Autism is a national health emergency. Our hope is that the government will finally declare it as such so that proper prevention, treatments and resources will be put in place,” says NAA Executive Director Lori McIlwain. “Immediate action is necessary for our community, and for members of the general public who just became one doorstep closer to autism.”


1 Neurotoxicology. 2009 Oct 2. Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccine: Influence of gestational age and birth weight.Hewitson L, Houser LA, Stott C, Sackett G, Tomko JL, Atwood D, Blue L, Railey White E, Wakefield AJ.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States; Thoughtful House Center for Children, Austin, TX 78746, United States

2 Hepatitis B Vaccination of Male  Neonates and Autism Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 19, Issue 9, Pages  659-659 C. Gallagher, M. Goodman

3 A review of research trends in physiological abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders: immune dysregulation, inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and environmental toxicant exposures. Rossignol DA, Frye RE. International Child Development Resource Center, Melbourne, FL, USA.