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A new report on Australian children with disabilities describes
the number of children aged 0-14 years with disabilities, the types
of disabilities they have, their experiences in school, and the
needs of their carers.
The report, Disability update: children with
disabilities, released today by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare, is an update to a comprehensive report on this
topic released in 2004.
The new report shows that the vast majority (97%) of school aged
children with disabilities attend school, with 89% in mainstream
schools and another 9% in special need schools.
Ms Louise York of the Institute's Functioning and Disability
Unit said more than half (63%) of the school-aged children did
experience some difficulty at school.
'The most common issues were fitting in socially, communication
and intellectual and learning difficulties,' Ms York said.
The report estimates that, in 2003, 317,900 children (about one
in 12 children or 8.3% of all children) had a disability.
'About half of these children had a severe or profound core
activity limitation, which means they need help with basic daily
activities,' she said.
The update showed that boys were more likely than girls to have
a disability - 10% of boys compared with 6.5% of girls, and more
likely to have a severe or profound core activity limitation - 5.4%
for boys compared with 3.1% for girls.
Children with conditions such as autism and intellectual
impairment were likely to have a severe or profound core activity
limitation (87% of children with autism, and 75% of children with
an intellectual impairment).
Carers and their needs were also highlighted in the report. The
report found that 91% of the primary carers of children with
disabilities were the children's mothers.
Most primary carers of children with disabilities spent 40 hours
or more a week directly caring for their child.
Of all primary carers surveyed, 48% reported needing more
support, with more respite care and more financial assistance.
14 July 2006
Further information: Ms Louise York, AIHW, tel.
02 6244 1271
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW Publications
Catalogue for availability of the Disability update:
children with disabilities report.