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Determining the true prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders
  1. L Perera,
  2. S Vijeratnam,
  3. E Bolland
  1. Department of Community Paediatrics, Enfield PCT, Enfield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    S Vijeratnam
    Department of Community Paediatrics, Enfield PCT, Enfield, UK; Rajan.Vijeratnam{at}enfield.nhs.uk

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We read with interest the January edition of Archives containing three thought-provoking articles on the autistic spectrum. The article by Harrison et al,1 which described the two source “capture recapture” technique as a means of determining “true” prevalence, provided an enlightened alternative to using conventional, “passive” ascertainment of point prevalence. We conducted an 18-month retrospective audit of our social communication clinic for children in Enfield. The primary aim was to compare our clinic with the recommendations set by the National Autism Plan2; however, it also raised issues on:

  1. the difficulties in obtaining accurate prevalence and incidence estimates; and

  2. the effect of changes in child health surveillance policy.

Cases were identified from the Enfield social communication clinic referral dataset for the referral period January …

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