Prevalence of treated autism spectrum disorders in ArubaReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 197–204

First Online: 14 April 2009Received: 16 September 2008Accepted: 19 March 2009


To study autism outside of a narrow range of settings previously studied, and in a particularly distinctive setting in the Caribbean. The aim of the Aruba Autism Project was to determine the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders ASDs in birth years 1990–1999 in Aruba. A record review study was conducted; cases were ascertained from children treated at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic of Aruba, the first and only child psychiatry service on the island. In these 10 birth years we found a prevalence for autistic disorder AD of 1.9 per 1,000 95% CI 1.2–2.8 and for autism spectrum disorders of 5.3 per 1,000 95% CI 4.1–6.7. Comparison analysis with a cumulative incidence report from the UK, showed a similar cumulative incidence to age five in Aruba. Prevalence of ASDs in birth years 1990–1999 and cumulative incidence to age five in Aruba are similar to recent reports from the United Kingdom and the United States.

KeywordsAutism Epidemiologic study Prevalence Cross-cultural Significant Outcomes:

•This first epidemiologic study on ASD in the Caribbean shows prevalence estimates and gender distribution similar to those reported in recent studies in the UK and US.

•Comparison analysis with a study of cumulative incidence of AD and ASD in the UK showed a cumulative incidence rate in the youngest age group in Aruba at the high end of the confidence interval of that in the UK.


•Only children who presented for clinical assessment and elicited clinical suspicion of falling within the autism spectrum are included in the prevalence estimate.

•Cases born in the early 1990s may have emigrated in search of services prior to the clinic’s opening.

•Higher functioning cases born in the late 1990s may not have attained a sufficient age for referral.

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Author: Ingrid D. C. van Balkom - Michaeline Bresnahan - Marrit F. Vogtländer - Daphne van Hoeken - Ruud B. Minderaa - Ezra S


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