Pioneered by the National Autistic Society (NAS), World Autism Awareness Week aims to draw attention to the 700,000 people living with autism in the UK – both to educate those unaware of the condition, and to help make the world friendlier to those who are affected by it.
Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that's more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.
Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.
- Autism is not a mental illness, it is a life-long developmental disorder or condition.
- 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 is autistic.
- While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives.
- 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them.
- 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 schools.
- 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 isolated.
- At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.
- Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work.
- Only 10% of autistic adults receive employment support but 53% say they want it.
The Autism Act 2009, is the only disability-specific act passed by parliament and The Act makes provision about the needs of adults who have autism. (Reference: National Autistic Society www.autism.org.uk/About/What-is/Myths-facts-stats)