How many people with Asperger Syndrome do you think there are in Victoria, in Australia, or indeed in the world? It's a question that's been niggling away at me of late, as I've been working on the website for the ASSN Victoria. Studies show the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders amongst children to be in the order of 1 in 166, to as many as 1 in 90.
But this does not differentiate between the degrees of autism. Studies showing prevalence rates of Asperger Syndrome are much harder to find (and if you do find one in your travels, please let me know).
Speaking with a psychologist who specialises in autism spectrum recently, she confirmed that of the studies she knew of, 70% of study participants had an IQ level of 70 or below, and would thus qualify as having an intellectual disability.
By definition Aspergers (and High Functioning Autism) requires an IQ of normal or above, which means 30% of those study participants have HFA or AS. If we extrapolate this out, using Australia's population of 22 million (according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics) we get the following:
If 1 in 166 people have an autism spectrum disorder, and 30% have no intellectual disability, we could be looking at a High Functioning Autism and/or Aspergers population of just under 40,000 in Australia, and 10,000 in Victoria. If you take the less conservative estimate of 1 in 90 people, that number grows to over 73,000 Aspies in Australia, with over 18,000 living in Victoria.
That's quite a community we've got here.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what we should be doing with this information.