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Gyles Glover

Local variations in how many children have learning disabilities or autism

Health and social care services need to know how many people they should be providing support for now and in the future. We need to know this nationally. We also need to know this locally, so that general practitioners and local councils can do their jobs of planning more effectively. The government needs to know about local need so they can make sure that money is distributed fairly to local NHS services and local councils.

We can work this out from what we know about how many people are likely to have learning disabilities at different ages, how long they are likely to live and information on local areas such as how many people of different ages live there and how rich or poor they are.

This project will do this nationally and for local areas. For all area it will estimate how many people with learning disabilities are likely to need support now, and in the future.

Variations in numbers of school-age children with learning disability or autism

First, in this area, we looked at local variations in the numbers of school-age children per thousand population have a learning disability. We did this using the school special educational need census. This census is taken each school term, we used the census from the spring term of 2010.

Unfortunately the actual census data themselves cannot be published in detail the confidentiality reasons. However there is also another problem with them. The figures show that some local education authorities seem to apply lower thresholds than others for identifying children as having special educational needs of various types. In this study we used statistical modelling to iron out these local factors and establish a best estimate of numbers of children with learning disability on the basis of the social and demographic characteristics of local areas.

You can download the report describing this work at the bottom of this page. Unfortunately it is highly technical, this is because the statistical task is complicated.

In addition to this we have produced a local estimates page. Here we have worked out likely numbers and rates for every part of England using local authority electoral wards. You can use this page to work out likely numbers and rates for any locality which can be defined in terms of a group of electoral wards. You can find out more about these figures.

How Rates Of Learning Disabilities And Autism In Children Vary Between Areas
PDF How Rates Of Learning Disabilities And Autism In Children Vary Between Areas
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Andrew Waldron
Thu 27 Sep, 12:32:10

I live and work in Dudley and have been involved with the delivery of the training requirements for GP's around the Direct Enhanced Services LD and will be involved this coming year. I totally agree with the above statement and find the website extremely useful, however I would be interested to know where the data originates from for the actual and estimated numbers as we are fortunate to have a Special Needs Register in Dudley and the numbers do not appear to be adding up

Eric Emerson
Thu 27 Sep, 12:32:10

Hi Andrew

This is a stream of work that uses different data sources. For children, we have tended to use SEN data (but only when at School Action Plus or above). For adults we use QOF/RAP data plus some of our own estimates to take account of the 'hidden majority' of adults with learning disabilities. We are very close to publishing a report in which we use SEN data to estimate how many children should have learning disabilities for each Local Authority and PCT in England.


Andrew Waldron
Thu 27 Sep, 12:32:10

Hi Eric Thank you for the reply the information provided will prove useful when we deliver the next education sessions around the health checks I look forward to the forth coming report Regards Andrew

Gyles Glover
Thu 27 Sep, 12:32:10

Hi Andrew. As you can see the report is now published, Gyles

Andrew Waldron
Thu 27 Sep, 12:32:10

Hi Thank you for keeping me notified it is very much appreciated Regards Andrew

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