Autism Prevalence Timeline
(Last Updated March 9, 2022)
1980s & 1990s
In the 1990s there was little information on the prevalence of autism and other developmental disabilities in the United States. Two studies that were conducted in the 1980s examined only selected areas of the country.
A few parent-founded autism organizations, the founders being incredibly privileged parents, started pushing for legislation. Autistics weren’t included in these activities unless used as a prop or token.
January 6, 1999
Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act of 1999 (ASSURE
To provide surveillance and research to better understand the prevalence and pattern of autism and other pervasive developmental disabilities so that effective treatment and prevention strategies can be implemented.
- Establishes national surveillance of autism and developmental disabilities to establish autism prevalence.
- Establish Centers of Excellence in Autism
- Establishes a clearinghouse, coordinating committee (IACC)
Advancement in Pediatric Autism Research Act (S 512) | March 2, 1999
March 4, 1999
October 17, 2000
December 28, 2003
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is preparing a research plan for autism — and hopes to cut the condition’s prevalence in the United States by a quarter by 2013.
Researchers haven’t tackled these problems before, partly because so little is understood about the mechanisms behind autism. There is currently no biological diagnosis for the disorder. “We have no genes, no circuits, no workable animal models, so we don’t have the tools to develop new treatments,” says NIMH director Thomas Insel. “It’s a striking contrast to where we are with the rest of medicine. We are where we were eight years ago with Alzheimer’s disease or 20 years ago with Huntington’s.”
April 6, 2006
The Advertising Council, in partnership with Autism Speaks announced today the launch of a new public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness about autism and to urge parents to learn the signs of autism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, which are collaborating on the production of the campaign, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with life-long consequences for individuals, family, and society. This complex brain disorder inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings, and form relationships with others. Thirteen years ago only 1 in 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism; today that rate has soared to a staggering 1 in 166.
Despite its growing prevalence, research shows that many parents of young children are generally unaware of autism. This campaign ultimately seeks to increase the level of early detection and early intervention, which research has shown can make a significant difference in the life of a child with autism.
SUZANNE WRIGHT: That’s precisely the answer we’re trying to find. Autism has now risen to epidemic proportions. In the past 13 years the incidence has gone from one in 10,000 to one in 166, and one in 104 boys born develops autism. And the stigma attached to it is significant.
No one has been paying attention. It’s amazing that people in this country aren’t screaming about the epidemic of autism. So little is known because there’s no money going into it; autism has received three-tenths of one percent of the National Institutes of Health‘s total budget.
Prevalence of Autism has drastically increased. In 2007, 1 in 150 children under the age of 10 will be diagnosed with Autism. However, parents lacked awareness and knowledge of the disorder. Our campaign objectives were to raise awareness of Autism, to educate parents about the prevalence of the disorder, and urge them to visit AutismSpeaks.org to learn more – all by communicating that Autism is more common than they think.
The campaign has earned over $80 million in donated media and created a 35% rise in awareness.
January – June 2007
June 4, 2009
A new study by researchers in the United Kingdom finds that the prevalence of autism in that country is much higher than previously thought. The current estimate of autism in the U.K. is one in 100. But the new study, led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, found that for every three diagnosed cases of autism, there are two that are not diagnosed – meaning the true prevalence in the U.K. could be as high as one in 64.
May 9, 2011
An exhaustive study of autism in one community has found that the disorder is far more common than suggested by earlier research.
The study of 55,000 children in Goyang, South Korea, found that 2.64 percent — one in every 38 children — had an autism spectrum disorder.
August 28, 2018
October 1, 2018
The network of researchers keeping tabs on autism prevalence in U.S. children plans to follow up with some of those children in adolescence, using new funds available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC-funded Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has tracked the prevalence of autism among 8-year-old children in the United States since 2000. Every two years, researchers in 11 states comb through children’s medical and school records that list any autism traits. Researchers at six of those sites also review records for 4-year-olds.
Autism Prevalence Archives
One in 166
One in 150
One in 110
One in 88
One in 68
One in 68
One in 50 – 59
One in 44
One in 38
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.