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An epidemiological survey of childhood autism as defined in ICD–10 Research Criteria was conducted in the northern part of Yokohama, Japan.
The routine health checkup for 18-month-old children served as the initial mass-screening, and all facilities which provide child care services function to detect all cases with childhood autism and refer them to the Yokohama Rehabilitation Centre. Cumulative incidence of childhood autism up to 5 years of age among the birth cohort of 1988, and prevalence on 1 January 1994, among residents born in 1988 were estimated.
Cumulative incidence and prevalence were 16.2 per 10 000 and 21.1 per 10 000, respectively. Children with high-functioning autism who had IQs of 70 and over constituted approximately half of all the children with childhood autism.
It was confirmed through better detection of high-functioning cases that childhood autism in Japan is more common than formerly estimated.
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