A Shocking 1 in 38 Children May Have Autism, New Yale Study Reveals

A new study just released in the American Journal of Psychiatry has found that the rate of autism among children may be more than double what previous studies have found. The research concluded by an international team of scientists, revealed that 1 in 38 children may currently suffer with an autism spectrum disorder, as opposed to the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) previously-divulged rate of 1 in 100.

Dr. Young-Shin Kim of the Yale Child Study Center co-authored the reasearch, which was carried out in South Korea. One of the goals of Kim’s study was to to get a clearer picture of and adjust autism rate realities by detecting untreated cases of autism among mainstreamed children in the community.  From the Asscoicated Press:

By casting a wider net and looking closely at mainstream children, the researchers expected to find a higher rate of autism characteristics. But they were surprised at how high the rate was. They don’t think South Korea has more children with autism than the United States, but instead that autism often goes undiagnosed in many nations.

U.S. estimates are based on education and medical records, not the more time-consuming survey conducted in South Korea. Two-thirds of the children with autism traits in the study were in the mainstream school population, hadn’t been diagnosed before and weren’t getting any special services.

Many of those undiagnosed children likely have mild social impairments, rather than more severe autism. “It doesn’t mean all of a sudden there are more new children with (autism spectrum disorders),” said co-author Dr. Young-Shin Kim of the Yale Child Study Center. “They have been there all along, but were not counted in previous prevalence studies.”

This new evidence comes at a time when both popular culture and some in the world medical community have suggested that the staggering prevalence of autism may be exaggerated, or part of an alarmist cultural myth.

The new study’s findings help debunk the idea that Autism may be a disorder influenced by socio-economic standing or regionality. Now more than ever, science is uncovering that autism is not only often misunderstood, but also a global health issue for children that needs to be more aggressively addressed.

According to Autism Speaks–the largest advocacy and educational foundation for Autism awareness: 

This study is further evidence that autism transcends cultural, geographic, and ethnic boundaries and that autism is a major global public health concern, not limited to the Western world. To date, there is no evidence of differences in the way ASD is expressed in children around the world; however it is possible that cultural factors may impact diagnostic practices and prevalence estimates. As a result, the South Korean study took a comprehensive approach to mitigate potential cultural bias.

Related Care2 Posts:

Autism Epidemic? New UK Study Says “No”

Pointing Fingers toward A Cure


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons




ANA MARIJA R6 years ago

Very informative, thank you!

Kashara M.
Kashara M6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this information!

Vicki Peyser
Victoria P6 years ago

Thank-you for the article!

Chloe L.
Chloe L6 years ago

I'm pretty sure the jaundice theory is bogus, same as all the other cockamamie theories floating around.

Diana W.
Diana W6 years ago

Why is it that an article about ASD is fronted with the picture of a kid with BIG EYES (eye contact being particulary bothersome for many ASD people). Are we going for iroiny??? (For that matter, why are the majority of features now promoted with people in-your-face staring at us?)

The article itself is interesting. We need an international perspective.

Elena Arutiunova
Elena Arutiunova6 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Jon T.
Jon T6 years ago

How very patronising Lana. I am well aware of autism spectrum disorders. My comment was that we have a headline saying "A Shocking 1 in 38 Children May Have Autism, New Yale Study Reveals" when actually it is saying that "1 in 38 children may have mild social impairments or a mild form of autism spectrum disorder"

To use the actual headline is an alarmist eye catching technique that does nothing to help those who are seeking a wider understanding of the spectrum of traits that autism is a more extreme form of.

And to patronise people who point this out, saying they need educating about it, really doesn't help.

Vilma V.
Vilma V.6 years ago

teachers must have one of the biggest pays. this work is really hard and it is very important that teacher could not be stressed. cuz if he/she is like that, all of us will be like that.

Hasan Yildirim
Hasan Yildirim6 years ago

Cindy C. you are very good person :)

Lana Patterson
Lana Patterson6 years ago

For those of you who do not know, there is something called autism spectrum disorders...Multiple disorders fall within the ASDs. This means that just because the child doesn't have severe social & phisical disablilities, doesn't mean that they do not have a form of autism. Symptoms may be mild or severe, but still fall under the ASDs. The overall point of this acticle is to raise awareness, so those that are claiming it to be "alarmist news" aren't getting the big picture...which is pretty disappointing because clearly those people are the ones this article is trying to educate.