I am pleased to announce the release of new data from the CDC’s Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Project – of which Colorado is a part. Roughly every two years we are able to provide new estimates on the number and characteristics of 8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. Today we present information for those children who were born in 2004 and 8 years old in 2012. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/documents/community_report_autism.pdf)
Key findings of the new report are:
- For the Network overall (11 sites), the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder remains similar to two years ago with 1 in 68 children identified with ASD.
- In the Denver metropolitan area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties), we identified fewer children with ASD (1 in 92) compared with the Network overall. This estimate, however, is slightly higher than the number we identified last year (1 in 101).
- In Colorado in 2012, we primarily worked with health care facilities and only a handful of our fabulous school districts. From previous work, we know that school districts play a vital role, along with health care providers, in evaluating and serving children with autism. In fact, in 2008 in the metro area, we found that about 30% of children with ASD only received services in the educational setting. As a result, our estimate this year likely under represents the actual number of children with ASD in the Denver metro area.
- Despite 87% of children with ASD having a developmental concern indicated in an evaluation prior to age 3, only 41% received a comprehensive evaluation for these concerns by 36 months. I challenge us to narrow this gap. Many communities across Colorado have prioritized early childhood screening in their maternal and child health plans. Please go to www.colorado.gov/cphe and search “early childhood screening” or explore www.coloradoabcd.org to find out more.
- Colorado data continue to show that Hispanic children are less likely (2x less likely!) to be identified with autism by age 8 and they also receive developmental evaluations later than white children. I challenge us all to do more to assure all children - regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic situation - are evaluated early. If interested, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities is hosting a webinar on April 21, 2016 at 1:00 Mountain on “Parents Taking Action: Empowering Latina Mothers of Children with ASD” (www.aucd.org/template/event.cfm?event_id=7822&id=16 ). If others have resources or are spearheading initiatives to address this area, please let me know! At 12:30 today, CDC will host a Partner Discussion about the Network data. Call in information is as follows: Call Line: 888-795-0855 Call Passcode: Autism
Additionally, on April 21, 2016 from 10:00 to 11:30, JFK Partners at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is hosting a webinar on autism spectrum disorder in collaboration with the HCP program at CDPHE. I’ll present a detailed update of the Network data, and you’ll also hear about new research efforts to identify causes of ASD (Susan Hepburn) and interventions for sleep problems (Ann Reynolds). Information can be found on the JFK Partners website (www.jfkpartners.org) under “Events.”
Finally, many, many thanks to all of you for your continued support of the Colorado Autism Monitoring Project! Many of you have been active partners in data collection and we could not do this work without your continued partnership. Others have provided guidance and insight into the information we analyze and report. You’re continued collaboration make this effort successful. More information about the ADDM project can be found on the CDC’s website, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm.html.