New research has shown a significant rise in Australians being diagnosed with autism.
An Australian Bureau of Statistics survey revealed 164,000 Australians had autism spectrum disorder in 2015, or around one in every 150 people.
Of those, just under 144,000 or 88 percent were identified as also having a disability.
The number is around two and a half times the total in a previous survey in 2009, when 64,000 people were identified has having autism.
Advocates say the rise is partly attributable to increased awareness from both medical professionals and the public.
“The research that has come out recently both from Australia and overseas seem to indicate it’s the increased awareness, particularly around professionals of identifying autism particularly around people who perhaps have more milder forms of autism,” Vicki Gibbs from non-profit group ASPECT said.
While genetics play some role in autism, its cause is still unknown and there is no definitive test to diagnose the disorder.
Autism is most commonly identified in children and young people, with more than 80 percent of diagnoses occurring in people under 25.
Symptoms, which can range on a spectrum from mild to severe, include difficulty in social interaction, restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour and impaired communication skills.
For more information, visit the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
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