© 2019 Spectrum Support Ltd

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WHY & the statistics

Over the last year, hundreds of ASD affected Australians found themselves in dangerous situations when confronted by Law Enforcement. Idiosyncratic behaviour consistent with Autism is often mistaken for drug use, aggression, insubordination or flight. In extreme cases this has lead to fatal consequences.


With a 600% increase in Autism over the last 2 decades it has become a priority for First Responders to be trained on managing interactions with ASD affected Australians, and to be able to recognise them.

In 2018 NSW Police responded to 42,570 mental health calls. That is 117 per day. 14,725 of those calls the individual was held under a Section 22. This is where in either a private or public circumstance the person is detained for the purpose a mental health assessment at a hospital or specialised clinic. 

2018 also held an incredibly high amount of domestic violence calls. Of the 160,000 calls in NSW, 70% of incidents were attributed to one or both parties having a mental health illness, mental health disorder or mentally disturbed.

At this time it is extremely difficult for anyone to distinguish and recognise Autism within these statistics which is why the ASD Talisman is so incredibly important. Wearing the ASD Talisman will be a clear message to all that the wearer has an ASD, and as such will need to be treated appropriately. Our Project Eleos training module for First Responders ensures that all Police, Ambulance and Fire personnel know exactly how to manage and interact with ASD Australian in a safe and controlled manner.

THE Facts

  • 1 in 70 Australians are now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. 

  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average

  • There is no medical detection or cure for Autism

  • Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

  • 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability

  • For those that do not have a learning disability, suicide is the No. 1 cause of death in the Autism Community. This is overtaken only by the rate of death caused by Epilepsy in those that have a learning disability.

  • Currently there is no federal law that prohibits the use of restraints that restrict breathing, and locked seclusion, in public and private schools.

  • While there is no definitive study on the effects of caring for a child with Autism on marriage, there are very clear signs that it plays a dramatic part with a mean divorce rate of 66%. Many disagree strongly and maintain that the rate is more in the high 80% range. This is anecdotal so cannot be confirmed.

HOW it happens

In 2018, dozens of instances of lethal force have been reported in the news and social media.

Here are a few examples of how it happens.


In Byron Bay Autistic boy was beaten and arrested by several Police officers. The boy was naked in the Streets of Byron Bay, however he was set upon by no less than three officers, tasered, and arrested. He did not resist and the officers’ actions were review by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) 


A 16 year old Autistic boy was shot dead in a Melbourne street. He made no threats, offered no resistance, he simply was in the middle of a meltdown. He was not able respond to the Police Officers demands, and was shot. 


A 23 year old Autistic woman was shot and killed in Western Sydney. She was carrying a large kitchen knife, for reasons we don’t understand. The Police responded to a call relating to a “Woman carrying a weapon” and on confronting her, deployed a Taser. This device failed and she was shot in the chest. The entire confrontation lasted 45 seconds. 

ASSOCIATED challenges

  • An estimated one-third of people with autism are nonverbal.  

  • Nearly half of those with autism wander or bolt from safety.  

  • Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied. 

  • Nearly 28 percent of 8-year-olds with ASD have self-injurious behaviors. Head banging, arm biting and skin scratching are among the most common. 

  • Drowning remains a leading cause of death for children with autism and accounts for approximately 90 percent of deaths associated with wandering or bolting by those age 14 and younger.

  • Autism can affect the whole body. 

  • Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent of children with autism. 

  • More than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems. 

  • Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum. 

  • Depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism. 

  • Children with autism are nearly eight times more likely to suffer from one or more chronic gastrointestinal disorders than are other children. 

  • As many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy (seizure disorder). 

  • Studies suggest that schizophrenia affects between 4 and 35 percent of adults with autism. By contrast, schizophrenia affects an estimated 1.1 percent of the general population. 

  • Autism-associated health problems extend across the life span – from young children to senior citizens. Nearly a third (32 percent) of 2 to 5 year olds with autism are overweight and 16 percent are obese. By contrast, less than a quarter (23 percent) of 2 to 5 year olds in the general population are overweight and only 10 percent are medically obese. 

  • More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. This is a lower rate than that of young adults in other disability categories, including learning disabilities, intellectual disability or speech-language impairment.

  • Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job. 

  • Research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills. 

For further information please download the associated report HERE