The Department of Health in Northern Ireland recently published a report on 'The Prevalence of Autism (including Aspergers Syndrome) in School Age Children in Northern Ireland 2020'. The data were sourced through the Department of Education which collated information from the annual Northern Ireland School Census.
Key findings from the report are as follows:
- The estimated prevalence of autism among school-aged population in Northern Ireland in 2019-2020 was 4.2 per cent.
- A significant difference was observed in the prevalence rates of autism between the sexes, with males having a three times higher likelihood of being identified with autism than females.
- The urban population in Northern Ireland had a significantly higher prevalence of autism than the rural population.
- In 2019-2020, the prevalence rate of autism in the most deprived decile was 38 per cent higher than the average in Northern Ireland.
- In 2019-2020, 14 per cent of children with autism did not have any special educational needs. Among those with special educational needs, 64 per cent were at stage V of the Special Educational Needs Assessment.