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Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM)

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network (ADDM)The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network (ADDM) is a CDC-funded project that aims to monitor the number of cases of autism and other developmental disabilities in different regions of this country to provide accurate, population-based estimates of the prevalence of these disabilities in young children. 

Li-Ching Lee, PhD, has been the principal investigator of the Maryland site, based at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, since the project first began.

The latest ADDM prevalence report related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) was released March 26, 2020. The national 2020 report, which focused on data from 2016, found an overall prevalence of 1 in 54 children with ASD (1.85 percent). As in prior years, the prevalence among boys was four to five times higher than among girls. In the new report, the prevalence was 1 in 34 boys (2.97 percent), compared to 1 in 145 girls (0.69 percent).

Read the news release from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Research sites in 11 states participated, including Maryland.  Other sites were in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The Maryland data were derived from health and special education records of children who were 8 years old and living in Baltimore County in 2016. Taking a look at Maryland's numbers, the overall prevalence was found to be 1 in 52 children, with 1 in 33 boys and 1 in 128 girls meeting criteria for ASD.

Monitoring Strategy

The surveillance system is a multiple source, records-based population surveillance system, currently focused on ASDs with plans to expand to other developmental disabilities in the future.  The Maryland ADDM site collaborates with the Maryland State Department of Education and local hospitals to obtain data about potential ASD cases.

What if I have a concern about a child's development?

The CDC recommends that parents track their child's development and act quickly to get their child screened if they have a concern. Free checklists and information for parents, physicians and child care providers are available at this CDC web page.

'Why Counts Count: Today's Autism Numbers, Tomorrow's Projections'

The Wendy Klag Center hosted an autism prevalence symposium , "Why Counts Count: Today's Autism Numbers, Tomorrow's Projections," on June 4, 2018.  The event featured introductions by Wendy Klag Center Director Dani Fallin, PhD, and Dean Emeritus Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, founder of the center.  Maryland ADDM Principal Investigator Li-Ching Lee, PhD, presented new data and prevalence trends from ADDM.  Eric Salzano, executive director of Maryland nonprofit autism services provider CSAAC, spoke about the overview of services for teens and adults. Dr. Lee also presented projections of future adult autism counts in Maryland and the U.S., prepared in collaboration with Qingfeng Li, PhD, assistant scientist, Departments of International Health and Population, Family and Reproductive Health.   Closing the symposium was a panel discussion with Zosia Zaks, M.Ed., C.R.C., the manager of programs and education at Towson University's Hussman Center for Adults with Autism; Maureen van Stone, Esq., associate director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute; Terri Savage, Ed.D., acting executive director of special education for the Howard County Public Schools System; Rhonda Workman, director of federal programs for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration; and Eric Salzano, executive director of CSAAC.

View a video of the entire symposium at this link.