There is currently no specific data regarding the prevalence in Ireland of autistic spectrum disorder, according to Health Minister James Reilly.
However, he says some estimates are available through the national census data. For example, the 2006 national census collected data on disability and a follow-up study, the National Disability Survey (NDS), was carried out on 16,000 people.
Approximately 22pc of respondents to the NDS reported difficulties with intellect and learning.
Around 5pc of this group attributed their difficulties to an autistic spectrum disorder.
And 38pc of the total group was aged 0-17 years with a further 25pc 18-35 years old. Thus the prevalence within this cohort could be estimated to be in the order of 1.1pc, he added.
In a parliamentary reply to Seamus Kirk TD, he said significant resources have been invested by this country in recent years in services for children with special needs, including those with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
"In 2014, the HSE is taking a number of key steps in implementing the change programme, including rolling out a new model of assessment and intervention, in line with the Progressing Disabilities Programme for Children and Young People."
Health & Living