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
'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,'
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:
27 March 1997
Further information:Xingyan Wen, ph. 02 6244
1177, or Ros Madden, ph. 02 6244 1189.General media liaison:Lyn Elliott, ph. 02 6244
1034.For media copies of the report (74 pp):Chris
Finnegan, ph. 02 6244 1032.Availability: Check the AIHW
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