Autism Reaches 6% in British Colleges – it’s simply a type of issues!
By John Stone
This is a mathematical continuation of Anne Dachel’s account of autism in Northern Irish schools. Northern Ireland may not be fully representative of the UK, but one valuable possibility it is not is to have it systematically collect autism data for its children, while in the rest of the UK we are increasingly just an overlooked mess with special needs to have. However, the new data allows a clear conclusion that the current rate of autism is likely around 6%. The figure given is 4.5% based on 13,401 children, the other number on the waiting list for diagnosis is 4,495, and it’s clear where we get when you add the two together. We have no way of accurately calculating the numbers for the other three nations (England, Scotland, and Wales), but perhaps we should take this as the default.
How did we get here? In 1999, according to a carefully conducted survey for the geographic region “Great Britain”, it was only one twentieth with 0.3%. As many of us recognized at the time, there was already a dynamic increase: in primary school (4-11) there were twice as many cases (0.4%) than in secondary (12-18) (0.2%), although secondary school students had a longer time to get a diagnosis and were monitored by the same services (p. 33, table 4.1, listed as “a less common disorder, pervasive developmental disorder”)). In 2004 this was unsurprisingly about 1% in both departments (p. 35, Table 4.1, listed as “a less common disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder), and now here we are another 17 years later and it’s six times that number.
Of course, governments around the world have done their best to adjust the data so that it looks like nothing is going to happen, but when the UK government’s last chief medical officer in November 2018, a follow-up survey to the 2004 one (now limited on England) with a value of 1.2% it was so out of the way and so little performance it was ridiculous. Should anyone think the current 6% is an illusion, the new Northern Ireland Census reports that two-thirds of diagnosed cases (66%) have the highest educational needs (level 5). We have a bureaucratic class that will do whatever we can to cover its tracks, but it was bad luck for the people of Whitehall that the very serious Northern Ireland Congregation took autism seriously enough to decide that there should be an annual school census .
Of course, among other things, the Covid debacle is a very good cover for the meltdown in our schools. With 6% autism, surely some people would notice that something is wrong.