Researchers at Dublin City University have launched a number of online surveys, as part of a multi-million European research project, to gather data about the economic costs borne by people with autism; the services and supports available to autistic adults and children and also early intervention supports.
To date, there is minimal data on the economic costs for people who have autism and little is known, nationally or internationally about existing services and care of autistic adults or the preparedness of communities to provide for them.
The survey, co-ordinated by project leads Dr Mary Rose Sweeney and Professor Anthony Staines at DCU’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences is part of a European wide project, called the Autism Spectrum Disorders in the European Union (ASDEU) which is a programme involving universities, charities and expert institutions to increase understanding of autism.
Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, Senior Lecturer at DCU’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences said:
“Little is known about the typical age that autism is initially identified and diagnosed in children across Europe and this online survey is the first step in what is a really important piece of research on a condition which affects 1 in every 100 people in Ireland.
Early identification of autism is important so that timely interventions can be employed.
In addition, the different service models for adults with autism have not previously been examined in detail across member states. It is hoped that best practice models can be identified.
The costs incurred in living with autism is another area that has received little attention - this research will provide novel quantitative data and comparisons across different countries on the costs for individuals and families across the EU.”
The ASDEU programme is examining the prevalence of autism in 12 European countries.
It will analyse the economic and social costs of autism; develop proposals for early detection programmes; validate biomarkers for the disorder; train professionals; improve understanding of diagnosis and propose policies to promote harmonised support for people with ASD across member states.
The aim of the programme is to apply a public health model to ASD focussed on prevalence estimation methods, early detection programs and the improvement of early diagnosis and intervention.
It will also work to the creation of a European evidenced-based framework that will improve the care for both adults and elderly people with ASDs.