Prevalence of Autism In Oklahoma

Around one in four counties in Oklahoma (25.9%) had a prevalence rate for autism of 0.59% or less.

Ruben Kesherim
July 2, 2024

Prevalence of Autism In Oklahoma

According to an analysis of autism in Oklahoma's SoonerCare Program, the prevalence of autism continued to rise in SFY2020 alongside total SoonerCare enrollment.

The rate of autism increased likely because of COVID-19, which probably interfered with the clinical interactions necessary for diagnosis.

New research shows that it's fair to expect a slower rate of growth in autism's prevalence this year. However, we can expect at least 1.0% of people in Oklahoma to have autism in 2023 and beyond.

Learn more about how ABA therapy in Oklahoma can help your child thrive.

Why Autism Rates In Oklahoma Are Rising

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of ASD has been increasing in recent years. In Oklahoma, the rate of children diagnosed with autism has also been rising. In this article, we will explore some of the possible reasons why autism rates in Oklahoma are increasing.

Improved Diagnosis and Awareness

One possible reason for the rising autism rates in Oklahoma is improved diagnosis and awareness. In the past, many children with ASD were not diagnosed until they were older.

However, today, doctors and educators are more aware of the signs of autism and are able to diagnose it earlier. This means that more children are being identified as having autism, leading to an increase in reported cases.

Environmental Factors

Another possible reason for the rising autism rates in Oklahoma is exposure to environmental factors. Research has shown that exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants can increase the risk of developing autism.

Oklahoma is home to a number of industries that release pollutants into the environment, including oil and gas production. Additionally, Oklahoma has high levels of lead exposure, which has been linked to an increased risk of autism.


Genetics is also a factor that may contribute to the rising autism rates in Oklahoma. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autism has a strong genetic component. This means that children who have a family history of autism may be more likely to develop the disorder themselves.

Oklahoma has a high rate of consanguineous marriages (marriages between close relatives), which can increase the likelihood of genetic disorders such as ASD.

Lack of Access to Early Intervention Services

Finally, a lack of access to early intervention services may contribute to the rising autism rates in Oklahoma.

Early intervention services, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy, can help children with autism develop important skills and improve their overall quality of life.

However, these services can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. In Oklahoma, families may have difficulty accessing these services due to cost or lack of availability.


In conclusion, the rising autism rates in Oklahoma may be due to a combination of factors, including improved diagnosis and awareness, exposure to environmental factors, genetics, and lack of access to early intervention services.

As awareness of autism continues to grow, it is important for policymakers and healthcare professionals to address these factors and work towards improving the lives of children with ASD and their families in Oklahoma.

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