LITTLE ROCK – A
The national prevalence of autism prior to the study was thought to be about 1 in 166.
“While the rates reflected in the
children are diagnosed with autism than ever before. Arkansas
- Boys are more than 3.5 times as likely to be diagnosed with autism (1 in 93 boys as compared with 1 in 345 girls).
- The disorder occurs most often in Caucasian children and least often in Hispanic children.
- The median age of diagnosis in
was 4 years 11 months. Arkansas
Autism can be identified as early as 18 months of age.
Eldon G. Schulz, M.D., a developmental pediatrician and professor of pediatrics and rehabilitation at UAMS/Arkansas Children’s Hospital, said it is unfortunate that autistic children are almost 5 years old before they’re diagnosed in
“None of the states reported adequate early identification,” Schulz said, noting that the age of diagnosis for all 14 states ranged from 4 years 1 month to 5 years 6 months.
“We simply must identify children at an early age so they may benefit from early intervention,” he said. “When intensive services for a child begin early, the effects of autism are greatly reduced.”
Karan Burnette, clinical reviewer for the Arkansas Autism Study at UAMS, said it is clear that more children are being identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“The impact on families is tremendous – physically, emotionally and financially,” Burnette said. “The health care, educational, and human service systems in the state are strained to provide appropriate identification, intervention and support for individuals with ASD and their families. Additional support for research and intensive early intervention is critical to the outcomes for these children.”
Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of developmental disabilities defined by considerable impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Many individuals with ASD have unusual ways of learning, paying attention and reacting to sensations.
Early autism identification resources are at the CDC Web site: www.cdc.gov/actearly.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.