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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Epidemiology

Once thought to be a rare disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is now one of the most commonly occurring neurodevelopmental disorders. With regard to epidemiology, the estimated prevalence—the proportion of individuals in a population who are diagnosed at any point in time—of ASD has been increasing; there are no reliable estimates of the incidence of ASD.

Studying prevalence is important, as prevalence estimates are crucial for planning policy and service needs, identifying potential risk factors, and suggesting potential causal influences of ASD to investigate via further research. This entry provides an overview of the prevalence of ASD. First, to provide a background against which to discuss prevalence, basic information about ASD assessment and diagnosis is discussed. Next, information on the analytic methods used to measure ...

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