Pawel Matus, MA
A 2017 report summarizes the share of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the general child population across 18 countries, including U.S. and 17 countries with better educational performance than the U.S, such as Poland, Canada, Hong Kong, or Germany.
The bad news is that according to the report, 1 in each 45 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with ASD, which was the third highest rate among the 18 countries, exceeded only by South Korea (1 in 38) and Hong Kong (1 in 27). Compare this to the other end of the scale, with Poland’s 1 in only 3,333 children diagnosed with ASD. See the table below for a full comparison.
Rates of ASD in children across the world.
Such a high rate of ASD in the U.S. is alarming whatever the reason behind it might be, as is the vast difference with other countries. However, bear in mind that such statistics are never completely reliable.
First of all, the definition of ASD itself (“a range of conditions characterized by some degree of impaired social behavior, communication, and language”, according to to WHO ) can vary between countries, or even between different years within the same country if the official diagnosis criteria are altered.
Secondly, people in different countries might not have access to the medical staff or infrastructure necessary to diagnose ASD in their children. And thirdly, in counties such as Hong Kong, ASD comes with a social stigma: if parents think they may get ostracized for having a child with disability, they are unlikely to report that disorder in a survey or have their child diagnosed in the first place. In other words, Poland’s apparent success may be the result of unidentified cases of ASD, rather than, say, effective prevention and therapy.
“If the world had a uniform way of diagnosing autism, and each country had the resources to do so, we could consider the global environmental factors that drive the epidemic. Without it, we are left wondering if Poland is doing something right that the rest of the world doesn’t know about, or if Poland needs more resources in order to report an accurate number” – says Robyn Charron, the author of the report.
With all of the complications in diagnosing ASD, we might expect the therapy for children with ASD to be complicated, as well. Fortunately, since intellectual deficits, such as trouble with recognizing emotions or learning basic skills, are fairly common to different variations of ASD, there are universal tools that can assist child therapy.
One of such tools is ABA DrOmnibus, a multimedia solution that uses a sophisticated AI algorithm based on behavior analysis to teach children and allow therapists and parents to work together to enhance therapy.
You can also find out more about the app on the company’s website www.dromnibus.com.
*Paid content by DrOmnibus.