Cases of children with profound autism, the most severe form of the condition, are increasing, according to a new study.

The Centers for Disease Control study shows that a quarter of children with autism are diagnosed with profound autism and are most likely to be poor, female, and non-white.

Here, Walter Zahorodny, director of the New Jersey Autism Study at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who helped compile the data and compute the results, discusses the more than 16 years of patient data and the importance of the findings:

What is profound autism?

It is the most severe form of the disease, defined for the study as limiting IQ to 50 or rendering children entirely or mostly non-verbal.

Why is it important to quantify and qualify profound autism as this study has?

It’s vital to know the prevalence of the condition in specific populations to project each community’s need for the very specialized care that profound autism requires. These figures show that the challenges will vary among communities, and communities with predictably high case rates will face higher demands.

How does care differ for children with profound autism rather than less severe forms of the disease?
A child with profound autism will likely need more structure, more basic instruction, more education through repetition and programming than a child with higher intellectual and linguistic ability.

It takes a specialized repertoire of educational interventions, teachers, and strategies to get to the maximum performance of a child with minimal language. You need compensatory efforts utilizing that child’s better performance on visual-spatial intelligence to learn.

Read the full article about profound autism by Andrew Smith at Futurity.