‘Neurodiversity’ is a relatively new term that refers to people who have dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and other neurological conditions. These are ‘spectrum’ conditions, with a wide range of characteristics, but which nevertheless share some common features in terms of how people learn and process information.

The term ‘autism‘ is used here to describe all diagnostic profiles, including Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

  • Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.
  • Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.
  • Autism doesn’t just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
  • Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone is autistic.
  • While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.
  • 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on2.
  • 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them3.
  • 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools4.
  • Seventy per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. Seventy per cent of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated5.
  • At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support6.
  • Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work7.
  • Only 10% of autistic adults receive employment support but 53% say they want it8.
  • Between 44% – 52% of autistic people may have a learning disability.
  • Between 48% – 56% of autistic people do not have a learning disability.[1]
  • According to the British Dyslexia Association, the number of dyslexics in the UK is around 10%, where 4% of this severely suffer from Dyslexia.
  • On a global scale, between 5-10% of the population experience dyslexia, but it could go as high as 17%, and of people who are having reading difficulties, around 70-80% of them are more likely to have dyslexia.[2]

[1] Autism Facts & History, National Autistic Society
[2] What is Dyslexia? Dyslexia UK


Autism in Mind support individuals who are both newly diagnosed with autism or diagnosed during childhood but have been unable to access support or services during their adult lives.

Autism Independent UK helps to increase awareness of autism to the notice of all, together with well established and newly developed approaches in the diagnosis, assessment, education and treatment.

Dimensions supports people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs out of institutions, helping them lead ordinary lives in their local communities.

National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families.

Contact support families with the best possible guidance and information, bringing families together to support each other, and helping them to campaign, volunteer and fundraise to improve life for themselves and others.

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