, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 2027-2037

Deaf Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Abstract

Epidemiological studies investigating the prevalence of autism have increased in recent years, within the United States and abroad. However, statistics as to how many of those children may also have a comorbid hearing loss is lacking. The prevalence of school-administrator reported diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (clinical diagnosis [DSM-IV] and/or IDEA classification) among children with hearing loss in the US was estimated from the 2009–2010 Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth conducted by the Gallaudet Research Institute. Results indicate that during the 2009–2010 school year 1 in 59 children (specifically 8-year olds) with hearing loss were also receiving services for autism; considerably higher, than reported national estimates of 1 in 91 (Kogan et al. in Pediatrics 124(4):1–8, 2009) and 1 in 110 (CDC 2007) for hearing children. Significantly more children with profound hearing loss had a comorbid diagnosis of autism than those with milder forms of hearing loss. These results are discussed, while highlighting the need for increased awareness and research in a population that has thus far received little services or attention.