Early intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Comparing international policies with developments in Northern Ireland

Prof Karola Dillenburger (QUB): Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects about 2% of school children (approximately 5000 in Northern Ireland; Megaw, 2013). ASD is a pervasive neurodevelopmental condition with problems in building social relationships and very restricted interests When these children enter the labour market, only 15% of them find employment; a great loss to them and to society (Rosenblatt, 2008). The cost of autism per lifetime is estimated £2.7 billion per each year in the United Kingdom, and can rise to £1.23million per lifetime (Knapp et al 2009). There is strong, statistically significant evidence that early intensive behavioural-analytically based interventions can save fiscally, enhance the quality of life considerably and enable adults with autism to participate fully in an inclusive society (Orinstein et al., 2014). Internationally, the USA and Canada enact laws and policies to ensure that these scientifically validated, individually tailored, person-focussed interventions are offered to all those who need them, i.e., these interventions now are considered ‘medically as well as educationally necessary’ in most of North America. This presentation outlines the evidence on which international decisions are based and outline the implications of adopting similar policies for Northern Ireland. This seminar took place on 26th November 2014. Download: Policy Briefing Presentation