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Key findings (November 2015)

  • Autism in children, young people and adults will vary enormously, but will all share the two ‘core’ features of autism; these are persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction: and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities.

  • Some people with autism also have significant strengths which  can include reliability, a good eye for detail, ability to produce highly accurate work, an excellent memory for facts and figures and the ability to thrive in a structured, well-organised work environment

  • There are a number of key inequalities for those people with autism and they include:

    • Prone to social and economic exclusion

    • Services that are not available consistently; different adults with autism in the same area can have very different experiences

    • Risk of severe health and mental health problems, homelessness, descending into crime or addiction for those without support.

    • Although many adults with autism make successful and important contributions to their communities, the economy and their families, too many could be dependent on benefits

    • There is more vulnerability to anxiety, depression and mental health issues in people with autism and with or without a co-occurring issue

    • There is an incomplete picture locally around information, needs, experiences and outcomes for adults with autism who may also have mental health problems.

  • A total of 2,436 adults are estimated (PANSI, 2015) to be living with autism in Wirral. That is 1,821 adults aged 18 – 64 years old reducing to 1,713 by 2030. For 75+ this would rise from 615 in 2015 to 803 in 2030

  • Brugha (2012) estimation method suggests a population prevalence for Wirral in the region of 2,108 adults with autism with 1,818 males and 289 females* (*rounded).

  • Applying mid-2014 population estimates to Emerson & Baines (2010) prevalence estimates of autism in children and young people, it suggests a number of between 676 (1.0%) and 1,014 (1.5%)for children and young people with autism in Wirral (birth up to 18 years of age).

  • Using Wirral’s 2015 School Census data, around 1.40%, or 616 pupils of Wirral school population, has a primary or secondary diagnosis of autism. This is similar to the lower estimated prevalence rate (Brugha, 2010) of 1.0%, or 676 children and young people (birth up to 18 years of age)

  • There are a number of issues that require further local development which could contribute to local improvements, these include:

    • Beyond estimates, the numbers of people with autism are not known accurately – in population and in service

    • This in part could be due to the need for more systematic recording of people known to services who have an autism diagnosis

    • The evidence base evaluating services for people with autism needs further development

    • Although there has been a range of autism linked training by local providers for specific groups or teams, there remains some uncertainty as to the numbers and extent of knowledge and skills held by the range of health or social care staff that work with people with autism.

    • This is likely to have a significant impact on their service experience and meeting of support needs.

    • Further understanding is required of the needs of people with autism from a range of backgrounds, in particular minority ethnic and cultural groups, women and older people.

    • A greater depth of content and views from service users, from those diagnosed with autism and their carers to influence local approaches

    • Greater understanding of the experience of Wirral residents with autism in terms of local employment, housing and the criminal justice system

Refreshed JSNA section (November 2015) 

Previous section
Autism Chapter (Previous update November 2013) 

Further information 
Statutory guidance for Local Authorities and NHS organisations to support implementation of the Adult Autism Strategy (March 2015)

'Think Autism': an update to the government adult autism strategy(April 2015)

Local Offer: What is the Local Offer?
The Local Offer sets out what is available for your child in your area if they have special educational needs and or a disability.Visit the Local Offer Wirral website to find out more.

NICE approach to diagnosis and treatment of Autism (January 2014)
NICE has produced a quality standard to help services address the current variation in diagnosis and treatment of autism. Access the guidance on the NICE website. 

Merseyside and North Cheshire Learning Disabilites and Autism Health Needs Assessment - September 2013 - Liverpool Public Health Observatory No. 94 in series 

Previous JSNA Learning Disabilities Chapter - up to August 2013 - Download the whole of Chapter 7: Learning Disabilities (Warning - large file)

Key information sources for you to consider:
Health and social care outcomes frameworks (Collection)
Public Health England Data and Knowledge Gateway
NHS Digital
Child and Maternal Health