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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Autism and Income

Previous posts (here and here, for instance) have discussed possible links between economics status and ASD diagnoses. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

A new study found no association between how much Utah families earn and their children’s risk of being diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.

That finding, published Thursday in the journal Autism Research, contradicts earlier studies that suggested links between autism and higher income, and between intellectual disabilities and lower income.

Judith Pinborough-Zimmerman, assistant research professor at the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry, and colleagues used census data to analyze 26,108 8-year-olds born in Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties in 1994.

They examined the gender and ethnicity of the children, the age and education levels of the parents, and how household income changed over eight years, comparing families who had a child with autism or an intellectual disability to the general population.

They found "no clear association" between income and the risk for autism or intellectual disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that by age 8, most children with autism have been diagnosed.

One issue researchers may need to examine: "Are Utah’s higher rates [of autism] in part because we are providing good services for various income groups?" Pinborough-Zimmerman said.