There is much concern about whether the prevalence of pervasive developmental
disorders (PDDs), sometimes referred to as autistic spectrum
disorders, is increasing.1 No study
is likely to answer that question because the last 20 years have seen dramatic
changes in the diagnostic criteria, an increase in public awareness of autism
and related disorders, and sweeping changes in the types and availability
of therapeutic and educational services. However, problems with determining
whether prevalence of the PDDs is increasing should not serve to distract
from the question that can be answered—ie, what is the prevalence of
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