Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) FAQs
- Do vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)?
- Is there an ASD epidemic?
- Can adults be diagnosed with an ASD?
- How many children with ASDs are being served through public special education programs?
- Has the number of children being served under an ASD classification in public special education programs changed?
- How do the rates of ASDs in special education compare with those of other special education categories?
- What are mitochondrial diseases?
- Is there a link between mitochondrial diseases and ASDs?
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Do vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)?
Many studies that have looked at whether there is a relationship between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). To date, the studies continue to show that vaccines are not associated with ASDs.
However, CDC knows that some parents and others still have concerns. To address these concerns, CDC is part of the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which is working with the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) on this issue. The job of the NVAC is to advise and make recommendations regarding the National Vaccine Program. Communication between the IACC and NVAC will allow each group to share skills and knowledge, improve coordination, and promote better use of research resources on vaccine topics.
Is there an ASD epidemic?
More people than ever before are being diagnosed with an ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out. We believe the increase in the diagnosis of ASDs is likely due to a combination of these factors.
CDC is working with partners to study the prevalence of ASDs over time, so that we can find out if the number of children with these disorders is rising, dropping, or staying the same.
We do know that ASDs are more common than we thought before and should be considered an urgent public health concern.
There is still a lot to learn about ASDs. In addition, increased concern in the communities, continued demand for services, and reports estimating a prevalence of about 1 percent show the need for a coordinated and serious national response to improve the lives of people with ASDs.
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