Autism Spectrum Disorder: Incidence and Time Trends Over Two Decades in a Population-Based Birth Cohort

Scott M. Myers, Robert G. Voigt, Robert C. Colligan, Amy L. Weaver, Curtis Storlie, Ruth E. Stoeckel, John D Port, Slavica K Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


We retrospectively identified autism spectrum disorder (ASD) incident cases among 31,220 individuals in a population-based birth cohort based on signs and symptoms uniformly abstracted from medical and educational records. Inclusive and narrow research definitions of ASD (ASD-RI and ASD-RN, respectively) were explored, along with clinical diagnoses of ASD (ASD-C) obtained from the records. The incidence of ASD-RI, ASD-RN, and ASD-C increased significantly from 1985 to 1998, then ASD-RI and ASD-RN plateaued while the rate of ASD-C continued to increase during 1998–2004. The rising incidence of research-defined ASD may reflect improved recognition and documentation of ASD signs and symptoms. Although the frequency of threshold ASD symptoms stabilized, the rate of ASD-C continued to increase, narrowing the gap between clinical ascertainment and symptom documentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Time trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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