How many New Brunswickers have some form of autism? There is no way of knowing with certainty for a number of reasons. Changes in diagnostic criteria, the different ages at which autistic children's behavior begins to differ markedly from other children their age, lack of diagnostic tools and lack of knowledge of criteria amongst some members of the New Brunswick medical community are some of the reasons. Using New Brunswick's official population estimates and estimates of the incidence of autism from reliable American sources it would seem we can make a reasonable estimate.
According to the NB Department of Finance the population of New Brunswick was approximately 752,000 on July 1, 2005. In May 2006 the Center for Disease Control reported the results of the first study of the prevalence of autism on a national basis in the United States. The study consisted of two parental report surveys in which parents reported incidents of autism diagnosis of their children. The results, as reported by the CDC, indicated that approximately 1 in 175 persons in the US are autistic. If you read the interview transcript of the CDC doctors who presented the results to the media you will see that they did comment that prevalence rates may have been under reported in the study. I know of no reason why that rate would not be applicable in New Brunswick. With a population of 752,000 it seems reasonable to estimate that there are approximately4300 New Brunswickers with autism.