By Jonathan Slack, Market Research & Development Specialist, AHSS
The federal government is expanding its autism monitoring program. As I have written about before, the CDC is set to spend 20 million dollars over the next four years to measure the prevalence of autism. The CDC wants to measure the effects of the recent diagnostic changes on the prevalence rate. However, not many people know about the CDC measure. Part of the initiative is adding new monitoring centers in Minnesota and Tennessee, bringing the total amount of monitoring centers to ten. Additionally, the monitoring centers in Arkansas and Georgia will, for the first time, track autism among 8- and 4-year-olds. Previously all of the monitoring centers just monitored the prevalence in eight year olds.
By monitoring the prevalence rate in 4-year-olds, the CDC hopes to get a more accurate picture of the prevalence of autism. In the long run, improving the CDC’s accuracy in measuring the incidence of autism will lead to better funding and more awareness.