New ADDM Report Shows 11.6% of Kids with ASD Are Diagnosed After Age 8

March 06, 2023

Children of Hispanic Heritage Are More Likely to Receive a Late Diagnosis 

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released their first autism spectrum disorder (ASD) surveillance report focusing exclusively on adolescents. This research investigated diagnostic patterns, co-occurring conditions, and transition planning for 8–16-year-olds on the spectrum. The report used longitudinal population-based surveillance data from the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM) during 2002-2018 in five different catchment areas within the United States. Participants included 3148 children born in 2002 whose records were first reviewed for ASD surveillance in 2010. Results showed that of the 1846 children identified as an ASD case, 11.6% were first identified after age 8, far later than the average diagnostic age of 4 years and 4 months. The report determined that children more likely to receive a later diagnosis were either Hispanic, born with low birth weight, verbal, had high intelligence quotient or adaptive scores, or had certain co-occurring neuropsychological conditions by age 8. It also discovered that certain neuropsychological conditions masked ASD symptoms, making diagnosing more difficult. Additionally, the report found that 1 in 7 participants had ASD ruled out at an earlier time. It also showed that by age 16, neuropsychological conditions (i.e., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety) were common in more than half of adolescents with ASD. Further, by age 16, females with ASD were more likely to have anxiety, depression, and epilepsy compared to males. Intellectual disability (ID) status remained unchanged for the majority of participants (>80%) from ages 8-16. On a positive note, transition planning was completed for over 94% of adolescents, but disparities were observed by ID status.  

Original Study  

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