Epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders


In this chapter, we review existing prevalence estimates for ASDs since 2000 and discuss methodological factors impacting the estimation of prevalence and the interpretation of changes in prevalence estimates over time. Possible explanations for an increase in the prevalence of ASD within and across populations are considered. Increases in ASD diagnostic rates cannot currently be attributed to a true increase in the incidence of ASD due to multiple confounding factors. It remains to be seen how changes to diagnostic criteria introduced in the DSM-5 will impact estimates of ASD prevalence going forward.

In Primer on Autism Spectrum Disorder