Nearly 3 percent of children suffer from autism or related disorders

26/08/2014 15:00

Information provided by parents indicates that autism and related disorders occur in nearly 3 percent of children and are twice as often found in boys as in girls. Boys are treated for autism or related disorders four times as often as girls. Over one quarter of autistic children also exhibit symptoms of ADHD.

Autism or related disorders more frequently found in boys than in girls.

According to information provided by parents or guardians, nearly 3 percent of 4 to 12-year-olds (approximately 43 thousand children) suffer from autism or a related disorders, like Asperger syndrome or PDD-NOS. These disorders are twice as often diagnosed in boys as in girls and the share increases amongolder children. Parents report that nearly 1 percent of 4 to 7-year-old children have autism or related disorders. In the 10 to 12-year-old population, 7 percent of boys and 3.5 percent of girls are diagnosed with autism or related disorders. Possibly, the increase is predominantly due to the fact that they are diagnosed at an older age. 

Share children with autism or related disorders, based on parental information, 2011/2013

Share children with autism or related disorders, based on parental information, 2011/2013

Four times as many boys as girls treated for autism

Part of the children suffering from autism or related disorders are treated. In 2011, 26 thousand 4 to 12-year-old patients with autism or related disorders were being treated in second-line, curative mental health care. Boys more than four times as often undergo treatment as girls.The treatment rate increases with age; from 0.8 per one hundred 4 to 7-year-olds to 2.5 per one hundred 10 to 12-year-olds. In the latter age category, 4 percent of boys and 1 percent of girls are being treated.

Number of treatment programmes for autism or related disorders, per one hundred 4 to 12-year-olds, 2011

Number of treatment programmes for autism or related disorders, per one hundred 4 to 12-year-olds, 2011

Autism and ADHD symptoms often occur together

According to information provided by the parents, more than 3 percent of 4 to 12-year-old children show symptoms of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD often occurs simultaneously with autism and related disorders; 26 percent of autistic children exhibit ADHD symptoms, versus 2 percent of non-autistic children. 

Share children with ADHD symptoms , based on parental information, 2011/2013

Share children with ADHD symptoms , based on parental information, 2011/2013

Marieke Houben-van Herten, Kim Knoops and Laura Voorrips