The National Epidemiologic Database for the Study of Autism in Canada (NEDSAC) was established in 2001 with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Under the direction of Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz, the goal of NEDSAC is to investigate the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in Canada. Each year, with the help of service providers, government agencies and assessment and diagnostic clinics, our regional teams collect anonymized information (no names appear in the database) on children who have been diagnosed with ASD.
NEDSAC is used to monitor the proportion of children with ASD (the prevalence), as well as factors such as the age at which children are first diagnosed, maternal and paternal age, and whether children with ASD are over- or under-represented among certain groups. In 2006 we received additional funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to confirm the diagnosis of ASD among a sample of children whose information is entered in NEDSAC, and to evaluate how well several parent and teacher questionnaires can detect ASDs in children. The findings will be used to determine whether children who have been clinically diagnosed meet standardized research criteria for having ASD. This will enable more accurate comparisons of prevalence across regions. The findings will also help us develop a method for screening children for ASDs, so that we can ensure that our prevalence estimates are as accurate as possible. The targeted completion date for this study is 2011. We also received funding in 2009 to analyze data housed at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy to better estimate the prevalence of ASDs in that province.
To learn more about NEDSAC, please click the other tabs at the top of this page. You may also contact us directly if you would like more information.
Last updated by the National Epidemiologic Database for the Study of Autism in Canada in May 2009