Intellectual disability represents a very significant client group of disability services, and more consistent national estimates of the numbers of people affected are needed for service planning, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The Definition and Prevalence of Intellectual Disability in Australia provides a critical overview of a number of important estimates of intellectual disability in Australia. The Report attempts to quantify the size of this population group in order to inform the community and facilitate service planning.
Author of the report, Xinyang Wen said that 'on the basis of the best available national population survey data to date, there are 174,000 people with an intellectual disability, either as the primary disabling condition or as an associated condition, that need ongoing support with basic living activities.'
'This figure of 174,000 is perhaps the best figure to use for an overall estimate of the prevalence of intellectual disability in Australia.'
'The majority of these people (86.6%) are reported as having had their primary disabling condition before the age of 18, while 38.3% reported an onset of their condition at birth or during infancy,' he said.
This is in contrast with the pattern of people across all disability groups, of whom 73.8% identified their primary disabling conditions at adult ages or older.
Other major findings of the report include:
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