The purpose of this project, “Enhancing Public Health Surveillance of Autism Spectrum Disorder through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network” is to elaborate the capacity of the New Jersey Autism Study (NJAS – NJ ADDM), to conduct autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevalence monitoring in metropolitan New Jersey (NJ). Toward this end, NJ ADDM investigators will conduct two cycles of ASD monitoring focusing on 4 and 8-year olds residing in Essex and Union counties (Component A) and, also, will conduct epidemiologic follow-up with two adolescent (age 16) cohorts who had been surveyed previously, at 8 years (Component B). The investigators will have access to health, education and Early Intervention Program (EIP) data and use the active multiple source ADDM method, reflecting DSM-5-guided ASD case definitions for the 4 and 8-year old aspects and DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5-based criteria for the adolescent age studies.
Multiple strategies and activities will be undertaken systematically to achieve specific short term objectives, leading to better understanding of ASD (including the trajectories of ASD from childhood through adolescence), decreased disparities in ASD detection, decreased age of detection and improved policies to advance the care of individuals with ASD. The proposed follow-up at age 16 will provide unique, population based, information about the expression of ASD, including: associated features, concurrent disorders, treatments and services and transition planning. Enhanced surveillance by the NJ ADDM investigators will be chronicled and measured through monitoring of key evaluation and performance parameters which will make this and future ADDM Network investigations more efficient and robust.
ASD is a dynamic condition, potentially affected my multiple types of factors and interventions. Through this project, investigators will add to the development of well characterized, population based set of information describing the expression of ASD over time. Such information may yield insights into effective treatments for ASD and the establishment of a more individualized or personalized ASD interventions, in the future.