1 in 40 Children Reported By Parents To Have ASD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Kogan, Ph.D.

Director of the office of Epidemiology and Research
Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was a study led by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, along with researchers from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard, Drexel, and George Washington Universities.  We used the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally representative survey of over 50,000 children that examines the health and well-being of US children, to examine the prevalence, treatment, and health care experiences of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

We found that 1 out of 40 children in the US were reported by their parents to have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We also found that children with ASD were significantly less likely to receive services like needed care coordination, referrals to other services, and mental health counseling – even compared to children with other emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders (EBDs).  Parents of children with ASD were also significantly more likely to report being usually or always frustrated in their attempts to get services, again compared to families of children with other EBDs. Finally, we looked at treatment patterns for children with ASD and found that 64% had received behavioral therapy in the year before the interview, and 27% had received medications to treat symptoms of irritability. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: That families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder face unique challenges due to the complex nature of the condition.  Also, if parents are concerned about their child’s development to consult with their pediatrician.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We know very little about what happens to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as they become adults, particularly around their transition to adult health care.  It would be important to explore that.

No disclosures


Pediatrics December 2018, VOLUME 142 / ISSUE 6

The Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder Among US Children

Michael D. Kogan, Catherine J. Vladutiu, Laura A. Schieve, Reem M. Ghandour, Stephen J. Blumberg, Benjamin Zablotsky, James M. Perrin, Paul Shattuck, Karen A. Kuhlthau, Robin L. Harwood, Michael C. Lu


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