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July 2003

Dipping Deeper Into the Reservoir of Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(7):619-621. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.7.619

OVER THE LAST decade, few pediatric disorders have captured the attention of both the professional and popular literature as autism. The prevalence rates recently reported in numerous studies of autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) are consistently higher, by many orders of magnitude, than they were in the 1970s and 1980s.1-4 From the time that Kanner5 first described the disorder in 1943 until the early 1990s, prevalence rates were reported across several nations as about 4 per 10 000. Since 1990, reported prevalence rates for ASD have increased to almost 60 per 10 000, with considerable national variation.6-9