Report: 1 in 65 Arkansas children has autism


LITTLE ROCK — One in 65 Arkansas children has been identified as having autism, according to a report released Thursday.

The report by the Arkansas Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences provides the first Arkansas numbers since a 2002 count, according to a UAMS news release. The 2002 count estimated that one in 145 Arkansas children were identified with autism.

The numbers are part of national data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday that was gathered from the national ADDM network, the release states.

The AR ADDM data found that boys are four times more likely to be identified with autism than girls. Also, white children are more likely to be identified with autism than black or Hispanic children, and 23 percent of children identified with autism had not yet been classified as having it by a community health care or education provider.

“With statewide data, we can compare how common ASD (austism spectrum disorder) is in different groups of children in different areas of the state,” said Eldon G. Schulz, M.D., principal investigator for the study and Rockefeller Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine. “AR ADDM will be able to identify underrepresented or underserved groups. We hope to guide service providers in directing efforts to connect with these kids.”

UAMS pediatricians treat children with ASD at the UAMS Dennis Developmental Center.

The state estimate is based on information collected from health and special education records of children who were 8 years old and living in Arkansas in 2010. The Arkansas monitoring program, in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, is one of only two sites in the ADDM Network to track autism in an entire state and the only site that continues to do so, the release states.