Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tennessee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on 3/23/23 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

There are many children living with ASD who need services and support. The number of 8-year-old children identified with ASD in the area covered by TN-ADDM increased from 2.3% (1 in 44) in 2018 to 2.8% (1 in 36) in 2020.
Although an increasing number of children with ASD in Tennessee (44% of 8-year-olds; 67% of 4-year-olds) are initially evaluated prior to 3 years of age, many children are still diagnosed at later ages (median age of diagnosis was 48 months of age among 8-year-old children with ASD).
About 1 in 36 (or 2.8%) of 4-year-old children were identified with ASD by TN-ADDM in 2020.
In Tennessee, Black children and Hispanic children were more likely to be identified with ASD by age 4 years than were White children. This may reflect improved service and advocacy efforts targeting traditionally underserved communities.
The increasing number of children identified with ASD in Tennessee may be tied to complex factors related to awareness and capacity for service.

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 community report, see here.

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

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

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