Lost in translation: Public policies, evidence-based practice, and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Karola Dillenburger*, Lynne McKerr, Julie-Ann Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
1255 Downloads (Pure)


Prevalence rates of autism spectrum disorder have risen dramatically over the past few decades (now estimated at 1:50 children). The estimated total annual cost to the public purse in the United States is US$137 billion, with an individual lifetime cost in the United Kingdom estimated at between £0.8 million and £1.23 million depending on the level of functioning. The United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has enshrined full and equal human rights—for example, for inclusion, education and employment—and there is ample evidence that much can be achieved through adequate support and early intensive behavioural interventions. Not surprisingly, most governments worldwide have devised laws, policies, and strategies to improve services related to autism spectrum disorder, yet intriguingly the approaches differ considerably across the globe. Using Northern Ireland as a case in point, we look at relevant governmental documents and offer international comparisons that illustrate inconsistencies akin to a “postcode lottery” of services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-151
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Issue number2
Early online date09 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Autism,
  • Policy
  • evidence-based practice


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