Many autism cases ‘undiagnosed’ – BBC News

A significant number of children with autism and related disorders could be undiagnosed, a study has suggested.  (Reports BBC News Online)

A Cambridge University team looked at existing diagnoses - and carried out recognised tests to assess other children. Of the 20,000 studied, 1% had an autistic spectrum disorder, 12 times higher than the rate 30 years ago. Autism experts said it was crucial to have accurate data on how many children were affected by the disorder.

The research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, was carried out in three parts. The scientists first looked at cases of autism and Asperger syndrome among 8,824 children on the Special Educational Needs registers in 79 schools in East Anglia. A total of 83 cases were reported, giving a prevalence of 94 in 10,000, or 1 in 106 children. The team then sent a diagnosis survey to parents of 11,700 children in the area. From 3,373 completed surveys, 41 cases of autism-spectrum conditions were reported, corresponding to prevalence of 1 in 101.  This 1% rate confirms estimates from previous research.

They then sent the Childhood Autism Screening Test (CAST) to the same parents to help identify any undiagnosed cases of autism-spectrum conditions. All those with high scores, plus some who had medium and low scores, were called in for further assessment. The team found an additional 11 children who met the criteria for an autism spectrum condition, but had not yet been diagnosed.

The researchers say that, if these findings were extrapolated to the wider population, for every three known cases of autism spectrum, there may be a further two cases that are undiagnosed.

Professor Baron-Cohen said: "In terms of providing services, if we want to be prepared for the maximum numbers that might come through, these undiagnosed cases might be significant. "It is important to conduct epidemiological studies of autism spectrum conditions so that the relevant services, including education, health and social services, can plan adequate provision for all those children and adults who may need support."

Mark Lever, National Autistic Society chief executive, said: "This is important research, which for the first time gives us an estimate of the number of people who don't have an autism diagnosis but may be in need of support.

"Getting the right support at the right time is vitally important and access to appropriate diagnostic services is crucial."

He said the NAS was campaigning for statutory guidance for diagnosis included as part of the proposed Autism Bill to try and improve improvement in local authority and NHS services.

Source: BBC News

Tania Tirraoro
Follow

Tania Tirraoro

Founder, CEO at Special Needs Jungle
Founder of Special Needs Jungle. Parent of two sons with Asperger Syndrome.
Journalist & author of two novels and a guide to SEN statementing. PR & social media expert. Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate.
Tania Tirraoro
Follow

2 Comments

  1. Katrmichelle

    The term autistic has been misused to describe persons with anything from cerebral allergies and schizophrenia to attention deficient disorder and post traumatic disorder. Sadly, few doctors and educators understand true cases of autism to make a correct diagnosis. So they go with the latest media driven flow. Pick and choose from a broad and ever expanding spectrum. Or worse, they guess. The hallmark traits of autism are: sensitivity to sounds, specific tastes in food/drink, strange body postures, repetitive behaviors, inability to control emotions or excitement, poor reasoning skills, needs routines, resists changes, sense of direction and memory better than other skills, thinking based on association, not reasoning, once distracted by olfactory, visual or auditory stimuli, they become preoccupied. This is markedly DIFFERENT than ADHD, in that ADHD presents as easily distracted by stimuli, BUT, the person bounces focus from one thing to another. ADHD people don’t stay hyper-focused or fixate on something. That is what you will see a truly autistic person do. Fixate. Appear to be in a world of their own. Not wanting to play or socialize with others. Not wanting to play or socialize with others is only a hallmark trait of autism when it ALSO involves, not willfully choosing to ignore or not play with others. A truly autistic person doesn’t choose to not play or socialize, it’s simply who they are– not to play or socialize with others—is in itself the core of autism—within oneself. They may show signs of affection or social skills, but it will almost always be brief.

  2. Katerina

    I just watched a video on You Tube posted by a mother of a severely autistic boy who kinda backs up what others say about this epidemic gone crazy, in a few of her points…the videos(there are two) are titled “autism spectrum seems out of control” and “autism epidemic out of control?”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.