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Autism Prevalence Rises to 1 in 59 across US, CDC Reports

NC rate rises to 1 in 57; Autism Society of North Carolina confirms need for additional resources, lifelong supports

April 26, 2018

Raleigh, NC – Increases in the number of children identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder show that more resources are needed to support individuals with autism throughout their lifetimes and enable them to lead fulfilling lives in their communities.

Prevalence rates of Autism Spectrum Disorder nationwide rose to 1 in 59 schoolchildren from the 1 in 68 reported in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday. The CDC reports rates every two years, based upon monitoring schoolchildren in 11 communities.

In North Carolina, the prevalence rate is 1 in 57, up slightly from the 1 in 59 reported in 2016. Data from the NC Department of Public Instruction shows a significant growth of 21 percent in two years of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in North Carolina’s public schools.

The Autism Society of North Carolina’s work for almost 50 years has helped make North Carolina a leader in early diagnosis and treatment.

“The latest numbers seem to show that other states are catching up to North Carolina as far as public awareness of the signs and symptoms of autism,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO of the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC).


More resources needed

“In North Carolina, we continue to see a need for services and supports for individuals and families affected by autism,” Sheriff said. “Every day, we get calls and emails from parents who have just found out their child has autism. These families need support and guidance, and their children will need a range of supports throughout their lifetimes.”

The Autism Society of North Carolina provides services and supports for individuals with autism of all ages. NC residents can learn which resources are available near them by using ASNC’s new interactive map at www.autismsociety-nc.org/find-help.

ASNC advocates for the state government to invest in more services. “For young children who are newly diagnosed, we need more early-intervention programs,” Sheriff said. “As they grow up, children need teachers who are trained in autism and schools that provide opportunities to learn job and independent-living skills. Adults on the spectrum need employment and housing supports.”



Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life.

For nearly 50 years, the Autism Society of North Carolina has improved the lives of individuals with autism, supported their families, and educated communities. For more information, visit www.autismsociety-nc.org.


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David Laxton, Director of Communications


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