Virginia Autism Prevalence & Rates

Around 17% of children ages 3-17 in Virginia are diagnosed with autism, according to

reuben kesherim
Ruben Kesherim
June 22, 2023

Around 17% of children ages 3-17 in Virginia are diagnosed with autism, according to

The prevalence rate of autism in Virginia has increased steadily over the past decade, which is largely attributed to increased awareness and better diagnostic tools.

However, there is still a significant gap in the diagnosis and treatment of autism in certain communities, particularly among minority populations and those living in rural areas.

There are a number of organizations and programs in Virginia that provide resources and support to individuals with autism and their families.

For example, the Virginia Autism Council is a statewide organization that works to improve the lives of individuals with autism by promoting best practices, providing training and education, and advocating for policies that support their needs.

In addition, there are a number of public and private schools in Virginia that offer specialized programs and services for children with autism.

These programs may include individualized education plans, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral interventions.

Despite the challenges of living with autism, many individuals with ASD go on to lead fulfilling and successful lives. With the right support and resources, individuals with autism can learn to overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential.

If your child is diagnosed with autism, consider providing them with personalized ABA therapy in Virginia so they can gain the social and communication skills they need to thrive on the spectrum.

Why Virginia Autism Prevalence Is Rising

Increased Awareness and Improved Diagnosis

One factor that has contributed to the rising autism rates in Virginia is increased awareness and improved diagnosis of the disorder. In the past, autism was often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, leading to lower reported prevalence rates. However, with greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of autism, more children are being diagnosed and receiving appropriate treatment.

Changes in Diagnostic Criteria

Another factor that has contributed to the rising autism rates in Virginia is changes in diagnostic criteria. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association updated its diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which resulted in a broader definition of the disorder. This change means that more children who previously would not have met the diagnostic criteria for ASD are now being diagnosed.

Environmental Factors

There is also growing evidence to suggest that environmental factors may play a role in the development of autism. For example, exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants during pregnancy or early childhood has been linked to an increased risk of autism. Additionally, some studies have suggested a link between maternal infections during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism in children.

Genetic Factors

While environmental factors may play a role in the development of autism, genetics also plays a significant role. Studies have shown that autism has a strong genetic component, with heritability estimated to be around 80%. This means that children who have a family member with autism are more likely to develop the disorder themselves.

Better Access to Services

Finally, the rising autism rates in Virginia could also be due to better access to services. In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on early intervention and support for children with autism. This means that more families are seeking out services for their children, which could be contributing to the higher reported prevalence rates.


In conclusion, there are several factors that may be contributing to the rising autism rates in Virginia. Increased awareness and improved diagnosis, changes in diagnostic criteria, environmental factors, genetic factors, and better access to services are all likely playing a role.

While the exact causes of autism are still not fully understood, it is clear that early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for improving outcomes for children with the disorder.

As we continue to learn more about autism, it is important that we work to ensure that all children with the disorder receive the support and services they need to reach their full potential.