Autism is defined as a developmental disability. Signs are usually observed in the early childhood years. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors that affect a person’s ability to interact and communicate with others. There are different degrees of autism, but some common behaviors associated with this disability include poor motor skills, delayed speech, difficulties with skills such as reasoning, and very narrow interests.
In recent years, the cases of autism have risen. No single cause has been identified, but early diagnosis is key to improved outcomes, although there is no cure and children do not grow out of this disability.
Tracking the rates of autism around the world is a bit of a challenge. This is because many nations do not track or report their autism rates. There are also no specific, uniform criteria for assessing autism. Even if there were, there are many nations that do not have the resources to conduct assessments.
Focus For Health took a look at several developed countries to determine current autism rates. At the top of the list is Hong Kong, where 372 children out of every 10,000 have been diagnosed with autism. Put another way, 1 out of every 27 children in Hong Kong has been diagnosed with this developmental disability.
South Korea has the next highest rates of autism. In this country, 263 out of every 10,000 – or 1 in 38 – children have received a diagnosis of autism. The United States comes in third. About 263 children out of every 10,000 have received this diagnosis. This translates to about 1 in 45 children.
The autism rates in other nations include:
- Japan: 1 in 55
- Ireland: 1 in 65
- Switzerland: 1 in 69
- Canada: 1 in 94
- Denmark: 1 in 145
- Singapore: 1 in 149
- Belgium: 1 in 167
- Estonia: 1 in 167
- Finland: 1 in 185
- Norway: 1 in 196
One thing to note is that there may be nations that have higher rates of autism than those listed here. Again, due to the lack of universal criteria and other factors, not all countries have the data needed to fully evaluate the number of autism cases around the world.