Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1491-1497

The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Toddlers: A Population Study of 2-Year-Old Swedish Children

  • Gudrun NygrenAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg Email author 
  • , Mats CederlundAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Eva SandbergAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Fredrik GillstedtAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Thomas ArvidssonAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , I. Carina GillbergAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Gunilla Westman AnderssonAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Christopher GillbergAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg

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Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is more common than previously believed. ASD is increasingly diagnosed at very young ages. We report estimated ASD prevalence rates from a population study of 2-year-old children conducted in 2010 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Screening for ASD had been introduced at all child health centers at child age 21/2 years. All children with suspected ASD were referred for evaluation to one center, serving the whole city of Gothenburg. The prevalence for all 2-year-olds referred in 2010 and diagnosed with ASD was 0.80%. Corresponding rates for 2-year-olds referred to the center in 2000 and 2005 (when no population screening occurred) were 0.18 and 0.04%. Results suggest that early screening contributes to a large increase in diagnosed ASD cases.

Keywords

Autism Autism spectrum disorder Prevalence Early detection Screening Diagnostic instruments