Autism and the Environment 101: Online Course 2

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Growing numbers of diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders (which include Autism Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified)) are raising a red flag. Currently 1 in 68 children who are born will be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) [Centers for Disease Control Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, 28 March 2014]. This suggests that there is more than genetic interactions responsible for the occurrence of autism. We now know that there may be several underlying factors contributing to ASD. The impact of an increasing amount of environmental triggers coupled with genetic vulnerability could explain the dramatic increases in the rates of ASD around the world.

Estimated Number of Individuals with Autism in Selected Nations, 2007
(calculated from prevalence rates in some cases)







Peking Health Science Center (estimate based on official 2005 rate of 1.1 in 1000 children affected)



Action for Autism India (based on an estimated rate of 1 in 250), 2007

United States


U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ADDME Study 2007 and Autism Society of America, 2007

United Kingdom 


National Autistic Society, 2006 (based on rate of 1 in 100)




Based on 2005 estimates by Ministry of Health of 2 to 6 per 1000



Autism Society of Philippines, 2007






Estimate of the Minister of Mental Health, 2006


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