This report was commissioned by the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders with funding from the Commonwealth Department of Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA). It arose from experience that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was increasing in Australia but there was a lack of evidence on the actual number of affected children, young people and adults across the nation.
The researchers under the leadership of paediatrician, Dr John Wray from Perth and paediatric epidemiologist, Dr Katrina Williams from Sydney, took care to ensure that accurate national figures were collected and extracted from a wide range of data sources across all Australian states and territories. Agencies across the country also provided valuable information about diagnostic practices, intervention services and the way data is collected, stored and managed.
The report’s core finding gives the best indication of the likely number of people with ASD in the Australian population because primary school aged children are the group of children most likely to be recognised as having ASD.