By Hanna A. Alonim, PhD
Expert in Development Disorders of the Autism Spectrum, Founder and Head of The Mifne Center, Israel
Established the Unit for the Detection of Autism in Infants, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center
Published in: Israeli Journal of Pediatrics – July 2011
In the early 1980s the International Autistic Society reported two cases of autism per every five thousand children. A widening of the definition of Pervasive Developmental Disorder in the DSM-IV (1994) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) led to an increase in identified cases and a reported frequency of two cases per thousand children. Children were not diagnosed before school entry. In Israel, serious efforts were invested to persuade medical authorities to lower the age of diagnosis to the age of three. In the last decade with increasing awareness of the phenomenon of autism, diagnostic tools have improved and the age of diagnosis has been significantly lowered.