According to Autism statistics given by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Autism Spectrum Disorder is on a rise and is now the sixth most commonly classified disability in the United States.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental disability and neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain in areas of social interaction, communication, and causes development of unusual behaviors and interests that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life and affects the way a child sees and interacts with the rest of the world. Autism Spectrum Disorder was also added as a special education exceptionality in 1991 and autism statistics indicate that more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined.
Statistically 1 in 150 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder with an estimate that 1 in 104 of those children will be males. With that being stated, males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder than females, as well as an estimate of 67 children are diagnosed a day.
There is not a complete population count of all the individuals diagnosed with autism in the United States. However, using the autism statistics given above, we can estimate that if 4 million children are born in the United States every year, approximately 24,000 of these children will eventually be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
By evaluating these autism statistics it can be concluded that autism is currently the fastest growing developmental disability, with a 10% to 17% annual growth. Assuming the occurrence rate has been constant over the past two decades, we can estimate that up to 500,000 individuals younger than 21 have autism. However, many of these individuals may not be classified as having autism until school-age or later. Because behaviors related to autism are usually present before the age of 3, it is important to make sure the individuals are being identified and are receiving appropriate intervention services as early as possible. The earlier treatment can be started the better for the child. Not only is it better for the child, but cost of lifelong care can also be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.