The Millennium child with autism: Early childhood trajectories for health, education and economic wellbeing

Karola Dillenburger*, Julie Ann Jordan, Lyn McKerr, Mickey Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Most of what we know about children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is based on post-diagnostic, retrospective, self-select studies. Oftentimes, there is no direct comparison between trajectories of children with ASD and children without ASD.

Methods: To circumvent both of these problems, the present secondary data analysis utilised a large-scale longitudinal general population survey of children born in the year 2000 (i.e. the Millennium Cohort Study; MCS; n=18522). Bi-annual MCS data were available from five data sweeps (children aged 9 months to 11 years of age).

Results: Pre-diagnostic data showed early health problems differentiated children later diagnosed with autism from non-diagnosed peers. Prevalence was much higher than previously estimated (3.5% for 11-year olds). Post-diagnosis, trajectories deteriorated significantly for the children with ASD and their families in relation to education, health and economic wellbeing.

Conclusion: These findings raise many issues for service delivery and the rights of persons with disabilities and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Neurorehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date07 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Applied behaviour analysis
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Millennium Cohort Study
  • Parents
  • Quality of life
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Service delivery
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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