National Profile of Children with Special Health Care Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Key Findings from the 2009/10 NS-CSHCN & 2007 NSCH


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. … ASDs are ‘spectrum disorders.’ That means ASDs affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe.”1 Consequently, nearly all children with ASD qualify as children with special health care needs (CSHCN), because they experience at least one type of ongoing condition that results in an above routine need for health and related services.2 The CSHCN Screener, which operationalizes this definition, was used in both the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) and 2009/10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS‐CSHCN) to identify CSHCN. Based on findings from the 2007 NSCH and 2009/10 NS‐CSHCN, 4.8% to 7.9% of U.S. CSHCN age 2‐17 years had current ASD*. Among CSHCN age 2‐17 years, prevalence of ASD ranges across states from 4.5% in Mississippi to 14.3% in New Jersey according to data from the 2009/10 NS‐CSHCN.

Source: Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health

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