How did COVID-19 affect Evaluation and Identification of ASD in Minnesota?

To examine the impact of COVID-19 on patterns of evaluation and identification, the numbers of evaluations and ages of earliest identification were aggregated by calendar month for children aged 4 and 8 years in 2020. To compare the same age windows by calendar month, the numbers of evaluations and incidence of identification from 2012 (year 0) through 2016 (year 4) for children aged 8 years were subtracted from the same months during 2016 (year 0) through 2020 (year 4) for children aged 4 years.

From 2016 through February 2020, children aged 4 years in 2020 had more evaluations and identifications than the cohort aged 8 years in 2020 had during 2012–2016. After the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, this pattern reversed, and there were fewer evaluations and fewer identifications for children aged 4 years than children aged 8 years received 4 years earlier. Of the 11 ADDM sites, Minnesota and two other sites had sustained declines in evaluation and identification through the end of 2020, while the remaining 8 sites showed resurgences closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Difference in incidence of autism identification per 1,000 children