Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tennessee (2021)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on 12/2/21 that the estimated prevalence of children in the U.S. with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has again increased.

Principal investigators from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (VKC) Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) continue to lead tracking in Tennessee through a grant from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Tennessee is one of 11 participating states.


What We Learned in Tennessee

1 in 44 8-year-old children (or 2.3%) were identified with ASD in 2018. This is an increase from 1 in 54 identified in 2016.
1 in 51 4-year-old children (or 2%) were identified with ASD in 2018.
Among 8-year-old children, boys are more than 4 times as likely to be identified as girls.
Black children (1.2x) and Hispanic children (1.3x) were more likely to be identified with ASD by 8-years-of-age than White children.
More children are being evaluated for ASD at an earlier age.
41% of 8-year-old children identified with ASD received an evaluation by 3 years of age.
68% of 4-year-old children received an evaluation by 3 years of age.
By 43 months of age half of children identified with ASD were diagnosed.

For more details on how this information was collected, frequently asked questions, and how this information can be useful to families and providers, see here.

To view the national ASD data report, see here.

To read the VUMC announcement, see here.


report cover


“Year after year, we are seeing more children diagnosed with Autism. The encouraging news is that these children are getting diagnosed earlier, and that is thanks to partners like TRIAD and all early intervention professionals across the state.  The earlier the diagnosis, the quicker our providers can start working with children and their families. Together, we will help them reach their goals and these children will have the childhood they deserve. A childhood that is defined by their own greatness.”

- DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner



How TRIAD addresses the needs of Tennessee children with ASD and their families



happy family

Kingston, 2, is thriving with the help of TRIAD’s telemedicine initiative and services

Sign up for free newsletters and learn about TRIAD services, live trainings, basic online trainings and professional development opportunities for educators, service providers, and caregivers. Subscribe here