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URADD was established in 2002 as a joint effort between the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry (Psychiatry); UDOH contracts with Psychiatry to conduct URADD. URADD uses a passive, population-based surveillance system in which individuals with ASD are identified based on a community medical diagnosis of ASD and/or an autism special education eligibility.

ASD is a reportable health condition in Utah

Utah Health Code R398-10-4 states that “Upon Department request, qualified professionals and diagnostic or treatment facilities that provide specialized care for ASD and related disorders shall allow the Department or its agents to review medical and educational records of individuals with ASD, mental retardation, and related disorders to clarify duplicate names and to collect demographic characteristics, medical and educational histories, and assessments”.

How are people with ASD identified by URADD?

Individuals with ASD and related developmental disabilities are identified by querying the electronic data warehouses of community medical providers that provide ASD-related services. Children found eligible for an autism special education classification are identified through a long-standing collaboration with the Utah State Board of Education.

Is URADD’s approach to identifying people with ASD validated?

Utah previously participated in the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network in surveillance years 2002, 2008, 2010, and 2012. The ADDM project uses a retrospective record review approach to identify children who meet the case definition of ASD based on the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 criteria. Excellent consistency has been found between ADDM methodology and community identification of individuals with ASD with approximately 90% of persons with ASD identified through the ADDM project having received a previous community-based ASD diagnosis and/or autism special education classification.

What is ASD prevalence?

Prevalence is a measure of how common a condition is, in our case ASD, in a specific place and time period among children of a particular age.

In what parts of Utah are people with ASD identified?

URADD is currently a state-wide, population-based surveillance system. Historically, however, we focused on identifying children with ASD in a four county surveillance area including Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Tooele Counties. Prevalence estimates reported on this website reflect prevalence in this four county surveillance area.

What are confidence intervals?

The fact is our prevalence estimates are just that, they are estimates of the true prevalence of ASD in Utah. Whenever an estimate is made, there is some element of uncertainty associated with that estimate because the estimate is based on a sample from the population. If the same study was re-conducted, the study sample would be slightly different yielding a slightly different estimate of the true prevalence for the population. Broadly speaking, a confidence interval is a measure of reliability of an estimate and provides an estimated range of values that is likely to include the population parameter, in this case the true prevalence of ASD.

Utah Department of Health