• Autism is a condition that often affects children
  • A recent study in the U.S. revealed roughly 2.2% suffer from autism spectrum disorder
  • Estimate shows one out of 45 people suffer from adult autism

A new study on autism in the U.S. reveals that 2.2% of adult Americans may have an autism spectrum condition. This means around 5.4 million people who are 18 years or older have the condition, with some of them even unaware of it. The estimate shows one in every 45 people has adult autism, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Monday.

No Existing Surveillance System

The CDC study is first of its kind and aims to provide an estimate of the number of American adults with autism. This will also fill the gap in data about adults in the U.S. living with autism spectrum disorder because there is no existing surveillance system to collect and store this information. This was the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects, and Developmental Disabilities stated in a press release.

The health body also underscored the importance of this information because autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a lifelong condition. The CDC said that a lot of adults with ASD require ongoing services and support.

adult autism revealed in US study
adult autism revealed in US study ohurtsov - Pixabay

Determining The Extent Is Difficult

Until now, a realistic finding on adult ASD prevalence in the United States has not been accomplished. Scientists and researchers alike admit that the question is difficult to answer. According to the CDC’s lead health scientist and researcher Patricia Dietz, any single approach to determine the extent of adult ASD in the country has challenges.

In a report submitted by Dietz and published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, she disclosed there are no psychometrically validated examinations of ASD for adults. This can lead to uncertainty for research using tests designed specifically for children, like the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. “In addition, mixed methods are likely needed to reach populations living independently and in group settings,” Dr. Dietz said.

Autism In Children

The CDC conducts regular surveys of autism in children. Some parts of their data were also taken from medical reports, information from parents, and schools. The most recent survey, conducted in 2016, found that around 1.85% of 8-year-old kids were identified as suffering from autism.

According to the health body, that is one in every 54 8-year-olds. For the adult survey, CDC researchers used the estimates of autism in children. The team then projected the information into an adult population using mortality statistics.