Facts About Autism You Need To Know
13 min · Special Needs
July 26, 2023

Facts About Autism You Need To Know

Facts About Autism Prevalence

  • According to the data CDC reported , one in 36 children in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

  • Boys are 4.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism compared to girls

Although the overall ASD prevalence was found to be around one in 36 children, CDC reports that boys are 4.2 times more likely to be diagnosed compared to girls.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder can occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

  • As reported by parents during a study conducted between 2009 to 2017, approximately 1 in 6 children between the ages of 3 to 17 (17%) were diagnosed with a developmental disability. These developmental disabilities include autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, blindness and others.

  • Early intervention provides the best chance for supporting healthy development throughout the individual’s life.

  • Minority groups are generally diagnosed later and less often.

Facts About the Causes of Autism

  • There is not one specific cause of autism.

  • Genetics were found to be involved in the majority of the cases.

  • It is known that children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD.

  • Extensive studies have firmly concluded that there is no link between childhood vaccinations and autism.

  • Research indicate that if one child has autism in identical twins, the other will be affected about 36 to 95 percent of the time. This rate is about 32 percent in non-identical twins.

  • The behaviors of the parents before, during, and after pregnancy do not cause autism spectrum disorder.

Facts About Diagnosing Autism

  • There is currently no way to medically detect or cure autism spectrum disorder.

  • The earlier autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

  • Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improve the individuals’ lives.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder can be detected as early as at 18 months .

  • A reliable diagnosis can be made by an experienced professional by the age of 2.

  • Some people are not diagnosed until their adulthood.

  • Developmental history and the behaviors of the child are used to make a diagnosis.

Facts About Finances for Autism

  • ASD is a really demanding condition, especially when access to services and support is inadequate.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder costs a family in the US $60,000 a year on average.

  • Early diagnosis and intervention can help reduce lifelong care cost.

  • For Americans with autism, the cost for caring had reached $268 billion in 2015, and is expected to reach $461 billion by 2025 if more-effective intervention and support cannot be established across the life span.

  • Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act has passed in 2014 and it allows tax-preferred savings accounts for people with disabilities, including autism, to be established by states.

  • Medical expenditures for children and adolescents with ASD were estimated to be 4.1 to 6.2 times greater on average than for those without the disorder.

Facts About Autism Treatment

  • There is not one single treatment for autism.

  • There is no known cure for autism.

  • Evidence-based psychosocial interventions like behavioral treatment and skills training programs can reduce difficulties in communication and social behavior.

  • These interventions provide a positive impact on the person’s quality of life.

  • Many children affected by ASD also benefit from interventions such as speech therapy and occupational therapy.

  • Early and intensive intervention can provide optimal development and well-being for individuals with autism.

  • Early intervention can improve learning, communication, and social skills, while also boosting brain development.

  • During treatment, the development of the child should be routinely monitored through maternal and child health care support.

  • ASD interventions are complex and incorporate various techniques.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and therapies based on its principles are the most researched and most commonly used behavioral interventions for autism.

  • Early interventions need to be personalized, based on individual children’s needs and learning styles.

  • Personalized and individualized interventions will yield the best results.

Facts About Autism Statistics in 2020

  • CDC reported that one in 36 American children is diagnosed with an ASD.

  • ASD is more likely to be diagnosed in boys than in girls.

  • Around 40% of children with autism are non-verbal.

  • Approximately 70% of children with autism continue their education in mainstream schools without any issues.

  • Older parents are more likely to have a child with autism.

  • In identical twins, there is a 76% chance that the other twin can have autism if one twin is diagnosed with autism.

  • Diabetic and obese mothers have a 48% chance to have autistic children.

  • Around 18% of individuals with autism are obese.

  • Research found that the annual cost of autism has more than tripled in the US, reaching $126 billion.

  • It is found that there is a 10% chance to have autism for children with chromosomal or genetic conditions.

Facts About Autism and Vaccines

  • In 1998, Lancet published a paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield of a study linking autism and vaccines. The study has since been retracted.

  • The study was found later on to be not based on statistics, and no group control, but it was enough to start rumors.

  • In the following years, many studies were conducted with over 10,000,000 children and found NO LINK between vaccines and autism.

  • There has been no credible studies linking vaccines to autism.

  • In the US, 1.8% of people do not get their children vaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons.

10 Facts About Autism in 2020

  1. Autism spectrum disorder is seen more in boys than girls.

  2. Children with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to suffer from epilepsy .

  3. Children with autism are more likely to be affected by schizophrenia.

  4. People with autism are three times more likely to develop diabetes .

  5. Prematurely born children may develop symptoms of ASD.

  6. Only 19.3% of individuals with ASD participate in the labor force .

  7. Children with ASD are likely to have higher anxiety levels .

  8. Around 40% of children with autism do not speak at all.

  9. Autism prevalence is increasing across the world.

  10. Children with autism are frequently bullied .

Facts About Intervention and Support for Autism

  • Currently no treatment has been shown to cure autism spectrum disorder.

  • Interventions and supports should be individualized to the person as ASD presents differently in each individual person.

  • Early intervention can help develop skills like learning, communication and social skills.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most researched and popular behavioral intervention for autism.

  • Speech and occupational therapies are also widely used in addition to other interventions.

  • Regular medical and dental exams should also be a part of the child’s treatment plant, as they can get sick or injured just like children without ASD.

  • There is no single or best intervention for autism spectrum disorder. The support consists of multiple interventions most of the time.

  • There are various types of treatments available for ASD, including ABA, social skills training, occupational therapy, and use of assistive technology.

  • Children with autism can suffer from developmental regression, meaning loss of skills. This affects around 1 in 5 children. Generally these children are diagnosed with autism between the ages of 1 and 3.

Facts About the Challenges That Come With Autism

  • Around 40% of children with autism do not speak at all.

  • 31% of children with autism have an intellectual disability with significant challenges in daily function.

  • Around 44% to 53% of people with autism may have a learning disability .

  • Individuals with autism have speech and language difficulties.

  • Approximately 28% of children with autism who are 8 years old are prone to self-injuries, including head-banging, scratching, and biting.

  • Drowning is still the leading cause of death for children with autism.

  • Many individuals with ASD have co-morbidities (conditions and symptoms that occur with autism) such as mental health problems, including anxiety, and depression)

  • Around two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been reported to have been bullied. 34% of children with autism spectrum disorder stated that the worst part of being at school is being picked on.

  • Sensory sensitivities that individuals with autism have can drastically impact daily life, causing extreme discomfort.

  • Individuals with autism may face exclusion.

  • It may be difficult for parents and caregivers to find the right type of education .

  • A balanced, healthy and nutritious diet can be difficult to establish due to sensory problems.

  • Socially, it is challenging for individuals with autism to begin or maintain a friendship or relationships.

  • For parents and caregivers, it may be difficult to cope with other people’s lack of information, attitudes and prejudice, also something faced by those with autism.

  • Caregivers and parents may also be concerned about their loved one’s well being all the time, making them worry and exhausted most of the time.

Facts About Autism in Boys

  • Boys are around 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than girls.

  • The list of common autistic behaviors that are called restricted and repetitive behaviors mainly comes from the studies conducted with boys with autism.

  • Diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder are based largely on how the disorder presents in males.

  • Boys may be diagnosed earlier than girls with milder forms of autism.

  • Boys are more likely to isolate themselves from other people.

  • Reports suggest that teachers appear to focus more of their attention on boys at school, as girls tend to withdraw and boys are more disruptive.

Facts About Autism in Girls

  • More and more evidence shows that girls with autism need more extreme genetic mutations than boys to develop autism.

  • Autism presents differently in girls.

  • ASD in girls often goes unrecognised due to this fact.

  • Teachers may miss symptoms of autism in girls more than clinicians or parents.

  • Since the diagnostic criteria for ASD are based largely in how it presents in males, girls can be underdiagnosed.

  • Girls with ASD seem to have less restricted and repetitive behaviors than boys.

  • Some of the restricted and repetitive behaviors may also go unnoticed, like obsessively collecting dolls may be misinterpreted as pretend play.

  • Girls with autism are better at controlling their emotions compared to boys.

  • Girls may be diagnosed later than boys due to their ability to mask their emotions.

  • Girls with autism may behave closer to typically developing boys in terms of social abilities compared to typical girls or boys with autism.

Facts About Autism in Adulthood

  • Individuals with autism may not be diagnosed until their adulthood due to various reasons.

  • Autism doesn’t just affect children, as these children grow into being adults.

  • Autism causes autistic people and their families to be isolated, leading to developing mental health problems.

  • Only 16% of adults with autism in the United Kingdom are in full-time paid employment.

  • Although autism can’t be cured, support and intervention can greatly improve the quality of life for the adult with autism.

  • Due to the lack of support, one in three autistic adults experience severe mental health issues in their life.

  • Since the definition of autism changes, many adults who would be considered to have autism never received an autism diagnosis.

  • Studies showed that job activities that encourage independence can reduce autism symptoms while also improving daily living skills.

Surprising Facts About Autism

  • Autism term comes from the Greek word “autos”, meaning self. The term literally means “alone”.

  • Autism can be diagnosed even before the child turns 18 months.

  • Not everyone with autism is non-verbal or a savant . It is a spectrum disorder.

  • Boys are over 4.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

  • Although they may seem indifferent, individuals with autism have feelings. Lots of feelings that may be overwhelming at times.

  • Children with autism are more likely to have other health conditions like epilepsy, anxiety, and ADHD.

Positive Autism Facts

  • Children with autism spectrum disorder are highly creative .

  • Individuals with autism are great with paying attention to details, being thorough and accurate, which is a plus in jobs that require this skill like quality control.

  • Autistic individuals are prone to being visual learners.

  • Individuals on the spectrum are painfully honest, loyal and committed to what they are doing.

  • The deep knowledge on topics help individuals with autism to be experts in what they do.

  • Individuals with autism are less likely to judge others. They are highly accepting of difference.

  • Autistic individuals are determined and resilient.

Last updated: March 2023


This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.

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This post does not provide medical advice. See Additional Information.