A report released on Thursday by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) detailed that one in 66 Canadian children between 5 and 17 years old has autism spectrum disorder.
This report is similar to the estimated of the United States on the neurodevelopmental disorder across the nation.
The disorder is usually detected in young children, with symptoms like difficulties in communicating and interacting with other people. Other signs would be repetitive behaviors and very few interests or activities.
Boys Are More Likely to Be Diagnosed With ASD
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects boys more than girls: they are 4-5 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls.
The chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam stated that it’s essential to understand “trends and patterns in ASD diagnosis”. This way, they can develop “meaningful programs and services to support people living with ASD and their families”. She also added that the study will help them see if the rates prevalence will change in time.
For the report, the study gathered data from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon. One in 57 children in Newfoundland and Labrador have autism, while one in 126 children have autism in Yukon.
Other provinces haven’t yet contributed to the study. They will soon participate in future reports, according to a spokesperson from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This report contains data from the 88% “of the population of 5-17 year-olds in the participating provinces and territories, which represents approximately 40 percent of 5–17 year-olds in Canada,” said the spokesperson in an email.
The “Need for a National Autism Strategy”
The advocacy group Autism Canada admitted that “the prevalence of autism is on the rise.” On the organization’s website, executive director Laurie Mawlam stated the following:
“Regardless if this increase is due to better diagnostics, increased awareness or increased incidence, there is an urgent need for a national autism strategy.”