Although there is some debate about the reasons for the increased prevalence of ASD, it is clear that a combination of improved diagnostic tools, better trained physicians, a more attuned and persistent population of young parents and broader media exposure has contributed to an increased identification of individuals with ASD.
Researchers such as Christopher Gillberg have revisited earlier diagnostic/prevalence studies and reexamined the data using today’s diagnostic criteria. They report that the rate from those earlier studies would now match those of more recent studies using these new criteria. On this basis, the rate of incidence has not increased, but our ability to identify has.
There continue to be questions about whether there are other factors affecting an increased incidence rate, but there is no conclusive evidence to support other explanations.
We are a multi-service agency providing direct intervention services to children and families in the Greater Toronto Area and providing training and consultation services to parents, professionals and other service providers across Ontario and Canada. For further information and detail, click on our List of Services.
In 2003-2004, the Centre received approximately 60% of its funding from the Province of Ontario. The remaining funds are generated by charging fees for some of our training and consultation services and by fundraising initiatives. The government funding we receive enables us to meet about one-third of the demand for service presented by families.
As recently as 10 years ago, the accepted rate of autism/ASD was four to five in 10,000. Since then the recognition of ASD is such that it is now widely accepted as being present at a rate of one in 165 individuals. You will hear some variation in the rate, but that tends to depend on whether the whole spectrum is being included or just autism, the most classic interpretation of this set of disorders.