Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors or interests. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with ASD. However, recent studies suggest that the prevalence of ASD is increasing worldwide, making it a significant public health concern.
One of the most critical aspects of ASD is early identification and intervention, which can significantly improve outcomes for children with the disorder. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for ASD at 18 and 24 months of age, as early intervention can help children with ASD develop critical skills and reduce the severity of symptoms.
In this article, we will review the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among children aged 8 years, based on recent research.
According to the latest report from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, the prevalence of ASD among children aged 8 years in the United States is 1 in 44 children. This represents an increase from the previous prevalence estimate of 1 in 59 children, which was based on data from 2014.
The ADDM Network is a surveillance system that tracks the number and characteristics of children with ASD in selected areas of the United States. The most recent data from the ADDM Network are based on the evaluation of medical and educational records of children aged 8 years from 11 states.
The ADDM Network report also highlights significant disparities in the prevalence of ASD among different racial and ethnic groups. The prevalence of ASD among white children was 1 in 38 children, while the prevalence among Black children was 1 in 53 children. The prevalence among Hispanic children was 1 in 68 children.
ASD is a heterogeneous disorder that manifests in a variety of ways, making it challenging to identify and diagnose. However, research has identified several common characteristics of ASD among children aged 8 years.
Social Communication and Interaction: Children with ASD often have difficulty with social communication and interaction. They may have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversations, interpreting social cues, and understanding social norms.
Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors: Children with ASD may engage in repetitive behaviors or interests, such as lining up toys or repeating words or phrases. They may also have rigid routines and may become upset when their routines are disrupted.
Sensory Sensitivities: Children with ASD may be sensitive to sensory input, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. They may also seek out sensory input, such as spinning or rocking.
Intellectual and Language Abilities: Children with ASD may have intellectual and language abilities that range from severely impaired to average or above average. However, some children with ASD may have difficulty with language and may require alternative communication methods, such as sign language or picture cards.
Gender Differences: ASD is more common among boys than girls, with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 4:1. However, recent research suggests that ASD may be underdiagnosed in girls, as they may exhibit different symptoms than boys.