April is Autism Awareness Month; however, as I mentioned last year, Autism Action Month is a more fitting name. We all must come together to ensure that autistic children, adults, and their families receive the much-needed support they deserve.
Updated Autism Statistics in the US
In 2022, the most recent reports showed that around 1 in 44 children were identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2023, that number skyrocketed to 1 in 36. To put this into perspective, when my son Aidan was diagnosed in 2005, ASD was identified in around 1 in 150 children. So, from 2005 to 2023, there has been a ~300% increase in ASD diagnoses.
Why the Uptick in ASD Diagnoses?
There is no scientifically verifiable answer to this. However, one of the main factors is the increase in the percentage of parents and caregivers bringing their children in for professional evaluations. Additionally, doctors are now equipped with more knowledge and data on ASD than ever before.
No matter the cause, the fact that there are ~3% of children with ASD means there will be ~3% of adults with ASD by 2033. This is why it is crucial to ensure that both autistic children and adults have access to the services and support systems necessary to reach their full potential.