New Study Shows Nearly 2% of 16-Year-Olds in New Jersey Were Identified with ASD

September 11, 2023

Rate is Consistent with Prevalence Estimate for 8-Year-Olds, But Lower than Parent-Report Surveys and Registries

A new brief report conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Walter Zahorodny, Principal Investigator of the New Jersey Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network, has discovered that nearly 2% (17.7 per 1000) of 16-year-olds in a four-county New Jersey metropolitan region were found to have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This rate is consistent with the autism prevalence estimate for the cohort identified at 8 years (17.5 per 1000) but lower than estimates from parent-report surveys and registries. The authors found that the ASD prevalence remained stable across ages but varied by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES), with Hispanics having lower levels of identified ASD (13.1 per 1000) compared to White adolescents (22.2 per 1000). Sadly, the report discovered that one in four study-confirmed individuals with ASD were not diagnosed. Co-occurring neuropsychiatric disorders were common in this cohort, with 58.8% of 16-year-olds on the spectrum having one or more co-occurring conditions. Approximately 40% had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 35% were intellectually disabled, and 28% had a mood or anxiety disorder. The report also found that White and high-SES individuals were more likely to have been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. The authors suggest that the high burden of co-occurring conditions highlights the need for ongoing population-based monitoring and support services for adolescents with ASD.

Original Brief Report

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