MCHB Minute

March 29, 2013

Laura Kavanagh, MPP
Laura Kavanagh, MPP

Greetings from MCHB!  I hope that Spring has finally arrived where you are.

I have several items I'd like to share with you for this issue of the newsletter, including the release of a HRSA/CDC Report on estimated autism spectrum disorder prevalence, and planned Autism Awareness Month Activities for April.

1.      On March 20, 2013, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), released a report which estimated autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevalence based on parental reporting using the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), a national sample of families across the country.   The report, "Changes in Prevalence of Parent-Reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-Aged Children: 2007 to 2011-2012" is available at

The survey was funded by HRSA and the data collection was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of CDC.  The data come from the National Survey of Children's Health, a nationally-representative phone survey of households with children. This survey is conducted every four years. This new report from a survey of parents helps us understand what parents are experiencing.

Main findings of the report:

  • The prevalence of parent-reported ASD among children aged 6-17 years was 2 percent in 2011-2012 compared to 1.2 percent in 2007.
  • The change in prevalence estimates was greatest for boys and for adolescents aged 14 to 17 years.
  • Much of the increase in the prevalence estimates from 2007 to 2011-2012 for school-aged children was the result of diagnoses of children with previously unrecognized ASD.

2.      Thank you to our grantees and also to Dr. Robin Harwood and Deidre Washington-Jones for their efforts to organize three engaging webinars for Autism Awareness Month. Please be sure to tune in for the live events or archived webinars if you are not available at the scheduled times. HRSA/MCHB will be hosting the webinars on April 4th, 8th, and 24th. The webinars feature the work of MCH CAAI State, Training and Research Grantees.  

Mark your calendars for the events! You can register for the webinars using the links below.

  • Webinar: Autism Spectrum Disorders: Family Support and Involvement
    When: Thurs, April 4, 12:30-1:30 EDT
  • Webinar: Expediting Detection of Autism Risk and Intervention Access
    When: Mon, April 8, 1-2 pm EDT
  • Webinar: Screening, Early Diagnosis, and Early Intervention
    When: Wed, April 24, 2-3 pm EDT

I look forward to seeing the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics grantees this week in Connecticut and all CAAI grantees in May.


Director, MCH Workforce Development

Maternal and Child Health Bureau