The estimation of changes in the patterns and numbers of the cases of autism in the US has recently become fairly complicated with the main debate being about the documented cases of the autism spectrum disorder.  In the previous years, it was much easier to pin down the exact rates of autism as the cases also did not appear as much as they do now. For example, in the 1970s, and 1980s, the reports on ASD concluded that every 1 out of the 2000 children suffered from autism.


The results of the survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2012 and 2013, show that the number of cases went up significantly to every 1 in every 80 children having ASD.

In the following year, the CDC conducted a National Health Interview Survey to note any progressions in the patterns of autism across the US. The survey showed that ASD was more prevalent than it had ever been, with every 1 in 45 children having the symptoms of autism.

What caused such a big rise in the number of autism cases?

The new questionnaire used in the 2014 survey by the CDC may hold an important role in it. The questionnaire used in the most recent survey also asked about Asperger’s syndrome unlike the ones conducted previously.

Asperger’s syndrome used to have its own, separate diagnosis until 2013 when it was enlisted with the autism spectrum disorders and no longer considered a different health condition.

 With the new addition to the autism diagnosis, the 11000 families which were requested to complete the survey were questioned about the diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s, and autism spectrum disorder. Read more on the CDC’s report here.

The question regarding Asperger’s syndrome held a significant role in the sudden rise in the rates of autism cases in the most recent survey.

But it is argued that there are also a number of other reasons which have played an equally important role.

Are Asperger’s syndrome and Autism similar?

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome have similar symptoms in children and cause about same issues. Children who have either of the conditions have similar troubles like the inability to make eye contact and expressing their feelings and problems in picking up body language.

Children having either of the conditions can both be and most are sensitive to food, sounds, and even clothing. They can both have obsessive behavior as well. Sometimes, it can even be hard to differentiate a child having autism and a child having Asperger’s syndrome.

However, there is one main difference in both of the conditions that are how they both are perceived. Children with Asperger’s can have normal language skill and can even display high IQ levels which are in contrast with the low IQ and poor language displayed by children with autism.

The treatment for both autism and Asperger’s syndrome can be both different and similar at the same time. For autism, the treatments are usually done with natural supplements such as fish oil capsules, Vitamin D, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and L-carnitine.

In the case of Asperger’s syndrome, there are specific medications or natural treatments for the condition. Doctors usually suggest psychological therapies such as social skill therapy, behavior modification, physical and occupational therapy.

Read more on the conventional treatment of autism and Asperger’s syndrome here. 

When it comes to the causes, there are no exact reasons for either of the condition. Both Asperger’s and autism are observed to be linked to genetics. Usually, there is a combination of different factors that lead to autism and Asperger’s.

Thus, eliminating a separate diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome makes perfect sense. The takeaway from the research is not just that the there has been a new addition to the questionnaire but also that the numbers have also risen generally.

The increase in the rates of ASD in the US accentuates the importance of diagnosing the early symptoms of autism to reduce the chances of any further complications. The sooner the health condition is detected, the higher are the chances of effective treatment.

Published December 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. The article does not clearly delineate the reasons for the rise in diagnoses. Awareness seems to one reason. There wasn’t an autism when I was young. “Weird “ was as close as it got. Do environment toxins play a role? Foods? Need to keep looking.

  2. By what I have read asperger syndrome was generally considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *