About 1% of the general population is thought to have intellectual disability, and about 10% of individuals with intellectual disability have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autistic traits. However, a much higher percentage of individuals with ASD have intellectual disability3.

The incidence of autism is 1 in 68 births in the United States. The occurrence is about 4.5 times more common in boys with a 1 in 42 incidence rate and girls have a rate of 1 in 1892.

About 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism2.

  • ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less. A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.
  • intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

Testing

There is no one cause of autism, just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes or mutations associated with autism. Research has identified more than 100 autism risk genes. In around 15% of cases, a specific genetic cause of a person’s autism can be identified. However, most cases involve a complex and variable combination of genetic risk and environmental factors that influence early brain development. In other words, in the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of non-genetic or environmental influences further increase a child’s risk1.

ARUP offers the following primary tests for autism and intellectual disability.


Resources

ARUP Consult® is a laboratory test selection support tool with more than 2,000 lab tests categorized into disease-related topics and algorithms. ARUP Consult—Autism


References

  1. Autism Speaks - Diagnosis, Causes & Symptoms
  2. CDC - Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Data & Statistics
  3. Car Autism Roadmap - Intellectual Disability and ASD