Myths, facts and statistics
How does autism affect children, adults and their families?
- Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition. Without the right support, it can have a profound – sometimes devastating – effect on individuals and families.
- Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism – that’s more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of 2.8 million people every day.
- Autism doesn’t just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
- Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone has it.
- While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.
- 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on2.
- 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them3.
- 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools4.
- Seventy per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. Seventy per cent of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated5.
- At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support6.
- Only 15% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment7.
- Only 10% of autistic adults receive employment support but 53% say they want it8.
1 The NHS Information Centre, Community and Mental Health Team, Brugha, T. et al (2012).Estimating the prevalence of autism spectrum conditions in adults: extending the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Leeds: NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care
2 Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p7
3 Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p18
4 Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p8
5 Bancroft et al (2012). The Way We Are: Autism in 2012. London: The National Autistic Society
6 Rosenblatt, M (2008). I Exist: the message from adults with autism in England. London: The National Autistic Society, p3
7 Redman, S et al (2009). Don’t Write Me Off: Make the system fair for people with autism.London: The National Autistic Society, p8
8 Bancroft et al (2012). The Way We Are: Autism in 2012. London: The National Autistic Society