Number of autistic patients triples in a single decade

In a single decade, the number of Israelis diagnosed with autism triples; 80% are male and under age 24.

Yedidya Ben-Or,

Parents of autistic children protest
Parents of autistic children protest
Flash 90

The number of Israelis diagnosed with autism jumped from 3,949 in 2007 to 14,269 in 2016, Israel's Labor and Welfare Ministry reported.

The rise means the number of autistic Israelis has tripled in the past decade, rising from 5.5 cases of autism per 10,000 to 16.9 cases of autism per 10,000. In the past year alone, the number has risen by 1.8 cases per 10,000 Israelis.

The number of cases reported also rose, with 970 cases reported in 2013; 1,323 cases reported in 2014; 2,074 cases reported in 2015; and 1,739 cases reported in 2016. This rise is considered to be a result of better screening and diagnoses, and matches the rise in other developed countries.

In the United States, the number of children diagosed with autism has risen by nearly a percentage and a half, and there are 146 cases of autism per 10,000 people. This contrasts sharply with the 1960s CDC statistics of four cases of autism per 10,000 people.

In 2017, the Israeli government added 51 million NIS to the budget for residences for autistic people. It is expected to add an additional 51 million NIS in 2018, bringing the budget for residences for autistic paitents to 350 million NIS per year.

In 2016, Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) added another 117 positions for social workers specializing in autistic patients. Seventeen new residences for autistic patients will open in 2017, aiding 400 autistic children, teens, and adults. These new residences represent a 30% increase in options for those with autism-related disorders.

According to the Welfare Ministry, 80% of those with autism are male and 80% are under the age of 24. This would make sense, the ministry said, considering the fact that most of those diagnosed recently are children, and medical staff have a much greater ability to diagnose autism than in previous decades. In all age groups, however, the number of autistic females is significantly less than the number of autistic males.




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