Big Leap in Numbers: What Does It Mean?


All About Autism

In May of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association announced changes in DSM-IV. “Intellectual developmental disorder” replaced the term “mental retardation,” and the diagnosis for intellectual disability placed less emphasis on a person’s IQ score and greater consideration on clinical assessment. The terms “Asperger’s Syndrome” and “Pervasive Developmental Disorder” were eliminated and folded under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella. There was concern that the new DSM-V might limit the number of children being diagnosed with autism.

Contrary to this prediction, the numbers of children being diagnosed has soared.

PA Census A by-county map of autism diagnoses receiving services in PA.

The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census findings show that the number of individuals has risen to over 55,000 children and adults receiving services, up from 20,000 in 2009. This is a 181% overall increase in the number of individuals with autism receiving services, and a 334% increase for adults 21 or older, making…

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