As well as
the 5 per 10,000 with classic autism or Kanner’s syndrome, it is estimated
that 15 in every 10,000 have what are called, in North America, other
pervasive developmental disorders.
perhaps 71 in every 10,000 have a milder form of the disorder, mainly
affecting social relationships rather than communication and language.
About half of this larger number (36 in every 10,000 of the population)
is thought to have Asperger’s Syndrome. These figures add up to 91 persons
in every 10,000, nearly one per cent of the total population. In Canada,
that means more than a quarter of a million families are touched by autism
spectrum disorders to some degree—with over 100,000 of them in Ontario.
Throughout the world, it has been estimated that 48 million people have
some form of autism.
and important question is: "Is the prevalence of autism increasing?"
Some have described the increases in diagnoses of some form of autism
as an explosion. Perhaps this reflects greater awareness of the distinctive
impairments by professionals and parents, as well as the expansion of
criteria to include those who combine autism with some other disability.
Perhaps there has really been an increase in the numbers and proportions
of affected people—possibly related to environmental factors, viral infections,
vaccinations and over-use of antibiotics.
of the definition and prevalence of autism by Dr Lorna Wing may be found
See also autism99 http://www.autism99.org
(please restart your browser when exiting from this site).
Eric Fombonne comments on the Atlanta study (reported in The Journal
of the American Medical Association, January 2003) in the context of most
past epidemiological studies of autism.