Prevalence of Autism

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated in the United States alone, the diagnosis of autism continues to rise. Autism is diagnosed at a greater rate than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined (DAS, 2010).  According to Autism Speaks, it is estimated that there may be more than 1.5 million individuals with autism.  It is estimated that 1 in 42 are boys and 1 in 189 are girls (CDC). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that the prevalence rate among males is 4 times higher than females (Quirantes, 2009). The CDC (2023) reports that ASD now affects 1 in 36 children in the United States. "The latest research in 2023 from the CDC shows that one in 36 children is now diagnosed with autism.

1 in 36 children in the U.S. have autism, up from the previous rate of 1 in 44.
In the U.S., about 4 in 100 boys and 1 in 100 girls have autism.
Boys are nearly 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Autism prevalence is lower among white children than other racial and ethnic groups:
White – 2.4%
Black – 2.9%
Hispanic – 3.2%
Asian or Pacific Islander – 3.3%

​Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2023)

What Causes Autism? 

The etiology of autism continues to be a mystery. It is often described from a biological perspective and classified as a neurological disorder (Quirantes, 2009). Experts speculate that a combination of genetic and environmental influences has been considered. Currently, through extensive research, the answer to the cause of autism continues to be an idiopathic phenomenon, and science has not yet found the exact cause.

Possible Signs of Autism

  • Limited, absent, and/or avoidance of eye-contact

  • No babbling, vocal sounds, non-verbal, no words or effective communication

  • Loss of previously acquired speech

  • Prefers solitary activities

  • Hyperactivity (very active)

  • Impulsivity (acting without thinking)

  • Aggression and Meltdowns may be due to absent speech or communication

  • Causing self-injury

  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits

  • Lack of fear or more fear than expected

  • Restricted activities, interests, and routines

  • Repeats words, phrases, songs (Echolalia) 

  • Repetitive behaviors such as flapping hands, rocking, spinning objects, and toys such as wheels of cars (Stimming).

  • Sensitive to sounds, textures, lights, colors, smells, and food.

  • Difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or one's own or other people’s feelings 

  • Avoid or resist physical contacts such as hugs, holding hands, or sensitivity to touch

  • Inflexible to change in routines and/or schedules


Stim or Stimming is best described as self-stimulatory behavior and is sometimes also called, "stereotypic" behavior that a child with autism is often observed to engage in and may include repeating words, songs, or phrases. 

As autism is a spectrum disorder, not all children diagnosed with autism will display the same symptoms.