The following reports and graphs include information on California data trends related to the prevalence of individuals affected by Autism. PACE would like to acknowledge the public support and ongoing effort to maintain this information by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) CDER reporting and the California Department of Education (CDE) Dataquest reporting.
Bay Area Autism Density Study 2010 [animated gif]
Click on the link to start the animation. The graph reflects the Autism density increases in the Bay Area over the past six years. From the graph, you can see that the green areas, which indicate a < 1:100 ratio, increase steadily by region. By 2010, most of the school districts on the map carry a <1:100 ratio, while many of the others carry a 1:100 to 1:150 ratio. It’s an astounding increase in ratio numbers, compounded by the fact that many of the high-density Autism numbers come from high density districts, which translates to thousands of students.
From 2001-2009 the number of California students affected by Autism grew by 40,000 individuals, but the overall percentage of students in special education remained flat. Consequently, there appears to be a shift in diagnosis favoring Autism over Specific Learning Disability (SLD).
From 2001 to 2009, California schools have had to contend with a 279% increase in students served under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with a primary Autism diagnosis. According to the CA Dept of Education, over those nine years Autism has seen an average annual growth rate of 18% statewide.
The number of active CA Regional Center clients climbed to 210,523 at the start of 2010. This continues to highlight the need for long term planning of adult support services.
The number of students affected by Autism in California schools grew to 53,183 in 2009. In a five year period, school growth rates in Autism have outpaced Regional Centers by 3% annually. Tightening of Regional Center eligibility and lack of Aspergers support could account for the main contributors to this difference.
The rate of change in the number of Autism cases in California dropped by 35% in 2009. This may be a result of raised Regional Center service eligibility requirements in the wake of the California budget crisis, rather than a sudden drop in the number of persons with Autism.
Bay Area Autism growth rate numbers are slightly lower than the California average, at an annual growth rate of 16% compared to 18% for California over the last 9 years. In 2009 alone, Bay Area schools recorded a 13% growth rate – down from 19% in 2001. But the total number of students with Autism continued to climb to 6,218 individuals in 2009.