• Austism;
  • season of birth;
  • infection;
  • genetics

Abstract Rates of birth in the general population show seasonal fluctuations for reasons that arc ill understood. Variations from these general imputation patterns have been reported for several psychiatric conditions and used as the basis for aetiological hypotheses In this paper, the evidence for alterations in the expected seasonal fluctuation in birth dates of autistic people is evaluated. A national sample of 1435 autistic individuals and a clinic sample Of 196 subjects are compared to general population figures and to 121 sibling controls. Compared with the general population, the national sample showed significant deviation's from the- expected rate of birth by month. In the clinic sample, differences from the anticipated monthly pattern were only evident when this sample was compared to the sibling controls. A variety of models for seasonal trends, including year quarters, temperature and sine wave forms, were fitted to these variations but no consistent picture emerged.