Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a large Italian catchment area: a school-based population study within the ASDEU project

A Narzisi, M Posada, F Barbieri, N Chericoni, D Ciuffolini, M Pinzino, R Romano, M L Scattoni, R Tancredi, S Calderoni, F Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

AimsThis study aims to estimate Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence in school-aged children in the province of Pisa (Italy) using the strategy of the ASD in the European Union (ASDEU) project.

METHODS: A multistage approach was used to identify cases in a community sample (N = 10 138) of 7-9-year-old children attending elementary schools in Pisa - Italy. First, the number of children with a disability certificate was collected from the Local Health Authority and an ASD diagnosis was verified by the ASDEU team. Second, a Teacher Nomination form (TN) to identify children at risk for ASD was filled in by teachers who joined the study and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was filled in by the parents of children identified as positive by the TN; a comprehensive assessment, which included the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition, was performed for children with positive TN and SCQ⩾9.

RESULTS: A total of 81 children who had a disability certificate also had ASD (prevalence: 0.79%, i.e. 1/126). Specifically, 66 children (57 males and nine females; 62% with intellectual disability -ID-) were certified with ASD, whereas another 15 (11 males and four females; 80% with ID) were recognised as having ASD among those certified with another neurodevelopmental disorder. Considering the population of 4417 (children belonging to schools which agreed to participate in the TN/SCQ procedure) and using only the number of children certified with ASD, the prevalence (38 in 4417) was 0.86%, i.e. one in 116. As far as this population is concerned, the prevalence rises to 1% if we consider the eight new cases (six males and two females; no subject had ID) identified among children with no pre-existing diagnoses and to 1.15%, i.e., one in 87, if probabilistic estimation is used.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first population-based ASD prevalence study conducted in Italy so far and its results indicate a prevalence of ASD in children aged 7-9 years of about one in 87. This finding may help regional, national and international health planners to improve ASD policies for ASD children and their families in the public healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 6 2018

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European Union
Population
Italy
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Communication
Disabled Children
Health
Autistic Disorder
Intellectual Disability
Appointments and Schedules
Cross-Sectional Studies
Parents
Observation
Delivery of Health Care

Cite this

@article{d317ff77239f4923b751bda71b2c12c3,
title = "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a large Italian catchment area: a school-based population study within the ASDEU project",
abstract = "AimsThis study aims to estimate Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence in school-aged children in the province of Pisa (Italy) using the strategy of the ASD in the European Union (ASDEU) project.METHODS: A multistage approach was used to identify cases in a community sample (N = 10 138) of 7-9-year-old children attending elementary schools in Pisa - Italy. First, the number of children with a disability certificate was collected from the Local Health Authority and an ASD diagnosis was verified by the ASDEU team. Second, a Teacher Nomination form (TN) to identify children at risk for ASD was filled in by teachers who joined the study and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was filled in by the parents of children identified as positive by the TN; a comprehensive assessment, which included the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition, was performed for children with positive TN and SCQ⩾9.RESULTS: A total of 81 children who had a disability certificate also had ASD (prevalence: 0.79{\%}, i.e. 1/126). Specifically, 66 children (57 males and nine females; 62{\%} with intellectual disability -ID-) were certified with ASD, whereas another 15 (11 males and four females; 80{\%} with ID) were recognised as having ASD among those certified with another neurodevelopmental disorder. Considering the population of 4417 (children belonging to schools which agreed to participate in the TN/SCQ procedure) and using only the number of children certified with ASD, the prevalence (38 in 4417) was 0.86{\%}, i.e. one in 116. As far as this population is concerned, the prevalence rises to 1{\%} if we consider the eight new cases (six males and two females; no subject had ID) identified among children with no pre-existing diagnoses and to 1.15{\%}, i.e., one in 87, if probabilistic estimation is used.CONCLUSIONS: This is the first population-based ASD prevalence study conducted in Italy so far and its results indicate a prevalence of ASD in children aged 7-9 years of about one in 87. This finding may help regional, national and international health planners to improve ASD policies for ASD children and their families in the public healthcare system.",
author = "A Narzisi and M Posada and F Barbieri and N Chericoni and D Ciuffolini and M Pinzino and R Romano and Scattoni, {M L} and R Tancredi and S Calderoni and F Muratori",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "6",
doi = "10.1017/S2045796018000483",
language = "English",
pages = "1--10",
journal = "Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences",
issn = "2045-7960",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a large Italian catchment area

T2 - a school-based population study within the ASDEU project

AU - Narzisi, A

AU - Posada, M

AU - Barbieri, F

AU - Chericoni, N

AU - Ciuffolini, D

AU - Pinzino, M

AU - Romano, R

AU - Scattoni, M L

AU - Tancredi, R

AU - Calderoni, S

AU - Muratori, F

PY - 2018/9/6

Y1 - 2018/9/6

N2 - AimsThis study aims to estimate Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence in school-aged children in the province of Pisa (Italy) using the strategy of the ASD in the European Union (ASDEU) project.METHODS: A multistage approach was used to identify cases in a community sample (N = 10 138) of 7-9-year-old children attending elementary schools in Pisa - Italy. First, the number of children with a disability certificate was collected from the Local Health Authority and an ASD diagnosis was verified by the ASDEU team. Second, a Teacher Nomination form (TN) to identify children at risk for ASD was filled in by teachers who joined the study and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was filled in by the parents of children identified as positive by the TN; a comprehensive assessment, which included the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition, was performed for children with positive TN and SCQ⩾9.RESULTS: A total of 81 children who had a disability certificate also had ASD (prevalence: 0.79%, i.e. 1/126). Specifically, 66 children (57 males and nine females; 62% with intellectual disability -ID-) were certified with ASD, whereas another 15 (11 males and four females; 80% with ID) were recognised as having ASD among those certified with another neurodevelopmental disorder. Considering the population of 4417 (children belonging to schools which agreed to participate in the TN/SCQ procedure) and using only the number of children certified with ASD, the prevalence (38 in 4417) was 0.86%, i.e. one in 116. As far as this population is concerned, the prevalence rises to 1% if we consider the eight new cases (six males and two females; no subject had ID) identified among children with no pre-existing diagnoses and to 1.15%, i.e., one in 87, if probabilistic estimation is used.CONCLUSIONS: This is the first population-based ASD prevalence study conducted in Italy so far and its results indicate a prevalence of ASD in children aged 7-9 years of about one in 87. This finding may help regional, national and international health planners to improve ASD policies for ASD children and their families in the public healthcare system.

AB - AimsThis study aims to estimate Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence in school-aged children in the province of Pisa (Italy) using the strategy of the ASD in the European Union (ASDEU) project.METHODS: A multistage approach was used to identify cases in a community sample (N = 10 138) of 7-9-year-old children attending elementary schools in Pisa - Italy. First, the number of children with a disability certificate was collected from the Local Health Authority and an ASD diagnosis was verified by the ASDEU team. Second, a Teacher Nomination form (TN) to identify children at risk for ASD was filled in by teachers who joined the study and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was filled in by the parents of children identified as positive by the TN; a comprehensive assessment, which included the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition, was performed for children with positive TN and SCQ⩾9.RESULTS: A total of 81 children who had a disability certificate also had ASD (prevalence: 0.79%, i.e. 1/126). Specifically, 66 children (57 males and nine females; 62% with intellectual disability -ID-) were certified with ASD, whereas another 15 (11 males and four females; 80% with ID) were recognised as having ASD among those certified with another neurodevelopmental disorder. Considering the population of 4417 (children belonging to schools which agreed to participate in the TN/SCQ procedure) and using only the number of children certified with ASD, the prevalence (38 in 4417) was 0.86%, i.e. one in 116. As far as this population is concerned, the prevalence rises to 1% if we consider the eight new cases (six males and two females; no subject had ID) identified among children with no pre-existing diagnoses and to 1.15%, i.e., one in 87, if probabilistic estimation is used.CONCLUSIONS: This is the first population-based ASD prevalence study conducted in Italy so far and its results indicate a prevalence of ASD in children aged 7-9 years of about one in 87. This finding may help regional, national and international health planners to improve ASD policies for ASD children and their families in the public healthcare system.

U2 - 10.1017/S2045796018000483

DO - 10.1017/S2045796018000483

M3 - Article

C2 - 30187843

SP - 1

EP - 10

JO - Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences

JF - Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences

SN - 2045-7960

ER -