Autism is a lifelong condition which affects the development of social and communication skills. It can affect the way an individual relates to people, situations and the environment.
Autism is a spectrum condition that affects each person in an individual way. Once you know one person with Autism, you know that one person with Autism.
In Northern Ireland legislation (Autism Act NI 2011), Autism is classed as a social communication disability. This means that reasonable adjustments should be provided to promote equal access to opportunities and services.
In Northern Ireland, 1 in 30 children have a diagnosis of Autism (2019, Prevalence of Autism in School aged children, DHSSPS). Accurate prevalence figures for adults can be a difficulty as there are many adults who do not have a formal diagnosis of Autism and therefore statistics can be misleading.
Approximately 25% of individuals with Autism will have an accompanying learning disability.
Statistics show that there are approximately four males diagnosed with Autism for every one female diagnosed. However, we know that it is sometimes harder to diagnose females with Autism and therefore this statistic can hide the true number of Autistic females.
Statistics show that only 16% of Autistic adults have full time employment despite individuals with Autism having the ability, skills and will to be employed.
There are a range of strategies that can support an individual with Autism. It is important to ensure the strategies used are suited to the strengths and difficulties of that individual as Autism is a spectrum condition.