Autism Prevalence among Youth in Canada – A report of the 2018 National ASD Surveillance System

from ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research

Filmed April 6th, 2018

Presented by Professor Anthony Bailey, Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UBC

In this video, Professor Bailey, Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UBC, provides an insightful overview of the epidemiology of ASD in Canada. After discussing the methodology used to develop the National ASD Surveillance System report, Dr. Bailey presents a summary of the findings and compares Canada’s rate of ASD among children and youth, to the situation internationally.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Surveillance System (NASS) is a federally funded initiative to estimate and monitor the number of individuals with ASD. The initial phase of the program estimates this number among children and youth. The findings of the 2015 NASS report focuses on those aged 5–17 years, from six provinces and one territory: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon.

Part 1: Background information on ASD Surveillance

Part 2: ASD Among Children and Youth in Canada 2018 – a Report of the National ASD Surveillance System

Click image to view the NASS report

Summary of findings

  • Among children and youth 5–17 years old across seven provinces and territory, the combined prevalence of ASD for the year 2015 is 1 in 66 (15.2 per 1,000).
  • Males were diagnosed with ASD four times more frequently than females. NASS found that 1 in 42 males (23.9 per 1,000) and 1 in 165 females (6.0 per 1,000) aged 5–17 years old were diagnosed with ASD.
  • Retrospective data from 2003–2015 from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec showed that, among 5–14 year olds, ASD prevalence has increased from 6.0 per 1,000 to 19.6 per 1,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador; from 5.0 per 1,000 to 17.7 per 1,000 in Prince Edward Island; and, from 3.5 per 1,000 to 15.7 per 1,000 in Quebec.
  • In comparison to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network from the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which looks only at 8 year olds, NASS’ prevalence was 1 in 63 (8 year olds) in the year 2015 versus the ADDM Network’s prevalence of 1 in 68 in the year 2012.

Part 3: Question & Answer Period