Autism is a developmental disability that influences a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It is a spectrum condition, meaning that while all people with autism will have similar problems, overall their condition will impact them in different ways. Some people may be able to lead fairly independent lives while others will require a lifetime of specialist support.

The data used to produce the “Prevalence of Autism in School Aged Children in Northern Ireland” is sourced from the School Census, collated by Department of Education.  Regretfully, the 2023/24 School Census data collection has been impacted by industrial action, due to ongoing Action Short of Strike. Although data has been received from all schools, for 25% of schools (primary, post primary and special schools) it has not been possible to obtain pupil level information.  This means that for these schools, pupil level information relating to special education needs and medical conditions is not available.  The Department of Education has therefore been unable to provide key information required to produce this report. 

It has therefore been agreed with DE that it is not possible to produce “Prevalence of Autism in School Aged Children in Northern Ireland” for the year 2023/24.

Further information on the impact of ASOS on School Census data can be found in the notes section of the Department of Education bulletin

Current publications

Prevalence of Autism in School Age Children in Northern Ireland: 5% of school aged children recorded with an autism diagnosis in 2022/23. 7.3% of boys & 2.7% of girls. 18% of children recorded with an autism diagnosis didn't have Special Educational Needs

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