New Study Estimates Higher Autism Rate in South Korea

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reports that an estimated 1 in 38 children (with a higher number of girls) in South Korea have autism.  The research was conducted on 55,266 school children (between 7 to 12 years old) in the Ilsan district of Goyang city. 23,234 parents participated in a screening questionnaire that was provided.   About 1,214 children tested positive for autism, but less than one-third were evaluated further and officially diagnosed with autism.

Researchers do not believe that more children have autism in South Korea; instead, the higher number is contributed to longer, in-depth research (though only on children listed in the school system).  The study was compiled from five years of research and was funded by various organizations including Autism Speaks and National Institute of Mental Health. Currently, in America, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1 in 110 children have autism.  Most of the data about children with autism are compiled from medical and education records, not from surveys.

The results from this study have encouraged researchers to focus more on global autism research (particularly in India, Mexico, South Africa, and Taiwan) through long-term surveys on children inside and outside of schools.

Read more about the South Korea autism study at New York Times, CNN Health, and Yahoo! News.

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  1. by Morgan

    On May 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    How are they testing and deciding which children have Autism? 1 in 38 seems REALLY high. So, my question here what are the using to determine an Autism diagnosis? At what point does a child fall onto the spectrum? Are there a certain number of delays/symptoms, or are they suggesting that any child with 1 or more delays/symptoms automatically falls on the spectrum? It seems like Autism is the new ADHD, “have a symptom? Yep, it’s Autism.” I’m not saying that Autism isn’t a real disorder that seriously effects children, but there are many children diagnosed (either by a doctor or a parent) as Autistic when they aren’t. What if a child simply has an speech delay that was never properly taken care of? My 3 1/2 year old nephew has been showing signs of Autism for well over a year, but once he started speech therapy and Head Start he no longer shows the signs, as his problem was a speech delay.

  2. by Kristen

    On May 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I wonder about what kind of research they did to base these facts as well. My step son has communicative autism and it took us a year and a half of tests to properly diagnose him. I agree with Morgan I don’t know how in depth these tests were performed to make such an assumption.

  3. by Marissa

    On May 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    As there are social aspects to a diagnosis of Autism, I wonder if this was taken into account within a differing culture? As there are differing expectations of children, and often girls, in some Asian cultures the results could be seriously skewed. I really would like much more information on this before I could believe it.