Facts and figures about autism

Here are a few facts and figures about autism which may surprise and intrigue you. There are quite a few myths surrounding autism – as there is with any disorder so it is important to separate fact from fiction.

Facts about autism

Note: we use the term ’autism’ to refer to a range of spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome, classic autism, high functioning autism and pervasive developmental disorder.

  • Autism affects both adults and children
  • Autism is a difficult condition to detect: you do not always know if a person is autistic or not.
  • Autism is a permanent and disabling condition which affects more than half a million people in the UK.
  • There is no cure for autism
  • More than 90% of people in the UK have heard of autism but none of them realise how common this disorder is.
  • More than 40% of autistic children have experienced bullying
  • Around 1 in 5 autistic children have been excluded from school. Some of them have been excluded several times.
  • Parents of more than 50% of autistic children believe that their children would receive better support in a special school.
  • More than 50% of autistic adults are unemployed and have no access no social security benefits. Some of these adults have been in this position for at least 10 years.
  • Only 15% of autistic adults hold down a full time job
  • Around 60% of unemployed adults with autism want to work
  • Nearly 80% of autistic adults in receipt of Incapacity Benefit want to work.
  • Around 1 in 3 adults with autism is suffering from severe mental health problems due to a lack of support.
  • Around two thirds of adults with autism do not receive enough support for their needs.

(Source: The National Autistic Society/about-autism)

What is important to know is that whilst there is currently no cure for autism, there is, nevertheless, a support system in place. This support can make an immense difference to the sufferer and their family’s lives.

Autism affects people in different ways. Some people may require a minimal amount of help and are able to participate in society: whereas others have severe physical and learning difficulties and need full time help.

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