Trends in Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnoses: 1994–2007
We analyzed predictors of parent-reported initial diagnosis (autistic disorder [AD], pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified [PDD-NOS], pervasive developmental disorder [‘PDD’] and autism spectrum disorder [‘ASD’], and Asperger syndrome [AS]), among 6,176 individuals with autism spectrum disorders diagnosed from 1994 through 2007. Overall, distribution of diagnoses was influenced by a secular time trend factor; other significant factors included ethnicity, white race, geographic location, urbanicity, and initial evaluator. Since 2001, most initial diagnoses of AD and AS have remained steady while ‘PDD’ and PDD-NOS have decreased. ‘ASD’ diagnoses have increased, especially among school-based teams; AS diagnoses also increased uniquely among these evaluators. Findings from this study suggest that current diagnostic guidelines may not be meeting all community evaluator needs.
KeywordsAutism Asperger syndrome Pervasive developmental disorder Health disparity Classification
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