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***(UK) Autism numbers double in 5 yrs; "increased awareness" cited

Feb 21, 2019, Belfast Telegraph: Spike in Northern Ireland children diagnosed with autism The number of children diagnosed with autism in Northern Ireland has more than doubled in the last five years, figures show. In some cases health trusts have seen a three-fold increase in incidents, with charities saying they are “inundated” with requests for help. More than 2,000 children are still waiting for a diagnosis.
Autism charities said the rise could be due to an increased awareness of the condition.
Last year 2,345 under-18s in Northern Ireland were diagnosed with autism compared to 1,047 in 2013…. In 2011 the Assembly passed the Autism Act which aimed to implement a governmental strategy to cater for people with autism and their needs. However, Autism NI said that the legislation had “failed to deliver on its promises of help for autistic people, their families and carers”. Their 2016 “Broken Promises” report called on the Stormont Assembly to take action on the issue. Head of Autism NI Kerry Boyd told how the group has been “inundated” with requests for support. “The introduction of the Autism Act (NI) 2011 and the accompanying increase in awareness both within the general public and health and education professions may have contributed to a rise in the number of assessments carried out and resulting diagnoses,” she said. “Consequently Autism NI, which provides vital services, is inundated with requests for support and we are finding it increasingly difficult to fulfil this demand. “As a result of this exponential increase, many families are not receiving an adequate level of support particularly in relation to early intervention.” …
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