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Publication - Research Publication

The microsegmentation of the autism spectrum: research project

Published: 26 Mar 2018
Part of:
Health and social care, Research

Economic research on autism and implications for Scotland, including how the economic cost of autism can inform strategy and planning.

357 page PDF


357 page PDF


The microsegmentation of the autism spectrum: research project

357 page PDF


ISBN 978 1 78851 616 7 (web only publication)
PPDAS 366546

This document is also available in pdf format (4.7MB)


An errata was published on 16th July 2018, see below contents for full description.

An errata was published on 22nd May 2018, see below contents for full description.

The pdf and html have both been updated within the document to reflect this change.



At the University of Strathclyde
Tommy MacKay
James Boyle
Michael Connolly

At London School of Economics
Martin Knapp
Valentina Iemmi
Amritpal Rehill

December 2017

The citation for this report is as follows:
MacKay, T., Knapp, M., Boyle, J.M., Iemmi, V., Connolly, M., & Rehill, A. (2017). The microsegmentation of the autism spectrum: Economic and research implications for Scotland. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.

Alan Somerville, Chief Executive of Scottish Autism,
and his staff for their support throughout the project
Scottish Autism, Autism Network Scotland, the National Autistic Society ( NAS)
and members of the autism community for their support in the development and dissemination of the Scottish Autism Survey
Jennifer Beecham ( PSSRU) and Renee Romeo (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience) for advice during costing; Francesco D’Amico ( PSSRU) and Derek King ( PSSRU) for advice during data analysis; Ian Dale (National Autistic Society) and Sharon Didrichsen (Specialisterne) for advice during the collection of data on employment.

The authors wish to dedicate this report to Alan Somerville, without whose vision this research and the idea of microsegmentation would never have become a reality.

Contents By Subheading

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1 Executive summary

Chapter 2 Introduction: The microsegmentation study

Chapter 3 Scoping exercise

Chapter 4 Study 1: The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders

Chapter 5 Study 2: Intellectual ability and disability across the spectrum

Chapter 6 Prevalence and intellectual ability: The Scottish context

Chapter 7 Study 3: The Scottish Autism Survey

Chapter 8 The economic cost of autism spectrum disorders in Scotland

Chapter 9 Segmenting the autism spectrum

Chapter 10 The escapable costs of autism: Microsegmentation and future research and provision for ASD in Scotland



Annex: The Scottish Autism Questionnaire

Errata list

Errata published on 16th July 2018

Contents by Subheading

Links to subsections "Prevalence" and "Segmenting the autism spectrum" were added to the contents list at pdf page 5.

List of Figures

Links to Figure 7.3 and Figure 7.4 were added to the List of Figures at pdf page 15.

Chapter 5

Paragraph 5.17 indicated that the extraction forms can be found in Appendix B.1.
“….These 38 papers were scrutinised for relevance and quality using 11-point data extraction forms (a copy of which is shown at Appendix B.1).”
Changed to Appendix B.2

Paragraph 5.30 made reference to paragraph 4.40.
“….However, as noted in Chapter 4, para. 4.40, there was no evidence to suggest that there were regional variations in the prevalence estimates associated with ASD.”
Changed to para. 4.41

Chapter 7

Paragraph 7.89 made reference to Table 7.18.
"Accordingly, analyses were based on the highest level of support received in each sector (see Table 7.18. for details of how the support intensity of these schools was ranked)."
Changed to Table 7.15

Figure numbers 7.2 and 7.3 were changed at pdf pages 155 and 158.
"Figure 7.2 Thematic Network and Summary of All Themes and Sub-Themes from Free Comments Provided by Individuals with ASD."
Changed to Figure 7.3
"Figure 7.3 Thematic Network and Summary of All Themes and Sub-Themes from Free Comments Provided by Parents and Carers of Individuals with ASD."
Changed to Figure 7.4

Paragraph 7.228 made references to paragraphs 7.17, 7.25, 7.31, 7.106, 7.124, 7.142, 7.164 and 7.63.
"In summary, the data from this sample has comprised a significantly larger number of males than females with ASD, in line with the established literature (para 7.17); there have been no significant differences in the figures in terms of type of ASD diagnosis received (para. 7.25), in numbers with intellectual disability, including numbers separately for moderate/severe ID (para. 7.31), in those in employment compared with those not in employment (para. 7.106), in those in a long-term relationship compared with those not in such a relationship (para 7.124), in those living independently compared with those not living independently (para 7.142), or in patterns of service use, other than in use of general health services, which were used more by females (para 7.164). We also found that more males in our sample had their highest level of educational support in a special school or unit, while more females were in mainstream school (para. 7.63)."
Paragraph numbers changed respectively to para. 7.19, 7.27, 7.32, 7.107, 7.126, 7.144, 7.166 and 7.64.

Chapter 8

Paragraph 8.29 made reference to Appendix C.1.
"Details are reported in Appendix C.1, where Tables 11.28 – 11.30 describe the annual service use and cost by service."
Changed to Appendix D.1

Errata published on 22nd May 2018.

Chapter 7

Paragraph 7.15 Referenced Table 11.24 twice as though its referencing different tables.
“…..associated themes/sub-themes may be found in Tables 11.24 and 11.24.”
Changed to Tables 11.24 and 11.25

Paragraph 7.69 Referenced an Appendix 7.9 where Appendices have been lettered and numbered e.g. Appendix A.1
“….Candidate variables excluded from the final model in this way and relevant statistics are detailed in Appendix 7.5.”
Changed to Appendix C.5

Chapter 8

Paragraph 8.29 made reference to Tables 12 - 14
“Details are reported in Appendix C.1, where Tables 12-14 describe the annual service use and cost by service.”
Changed to Tables 11.28 - 11.30

Paragraph 8.37 made references to Tables 15-17
“….Appendix D.2, where Tables 15-17 describe annual service use and cost by service”
Changed to Tables 11.31 - 11.33

Paragraph 8.45 references Tables 8:18 - 8:21
“…Appendix D.3, Tables 8:18 to 8:21.”
Changed to Tables 11.34 to 11.37

Paragraph 8.50 made references to Tables 8.22 - 8.25
“….residence are given in Appendix D.4, Tables 8.22 to 8.25.”
Changed to Tables 11.38 to 11.41

Paragraph 8.53 made references to a Table 8
“…..almost two-thirds of whom do not have intellectual disabilities (Table 8).”
Changed to Table 6.1.
This point also included an estimate of the ASD population in Scotland from earlier drafts. There has been an update to this estimate to reflect more recent data on the Scottish population, there has been changes to the figure reported here to reflect the figures included in Table 6.1

Paragraph 8.55 made References to Tables 8.30 to 8.37 and 8.32 to 8.36
“…The findings from our two-part models are reported in Tables 8.30 to 8.37 (Appendix D.6-D.7).”
Changed to Tables 11.46 to 11.53
“….particularly for people with autism (Tables8.32 and 8.36)..”
Chaged to Tables 11.48 and 11.52
“…..(‘Total’ column within Table 8.32).”
Changed to Table 11.48

Paragraph 8.56 made References to Tables 8.31, 8.33,8.35 and 8.37
“….(tables 8.31,8.33, 8.35 and 8.37)…”
Changed to tables 11.47, 11.49, 11.51 and 11.53

Paragraph 8.57 made References to Tables 8.30 and 8.31
“….Tables 8.30 and 8.31 (Appendix D.6)…”
Changed to Tables 11.46 and 11..47
“….the first part of the model (Table 8.30), the lone….”
Changed to Tables 11.46
“….second part of the model (Table 8.31), individuals….”
Changed to Table 11.47

Paragraph 8.58 made References to Tables 8.32 and 8.33
“8.58 Tables 8.32 and 8.33 (Appendix D.6)….”
Changed to Tables 11.48 and 11.49

Paragraph 8.59 made References to a Table 8.33
“…second part of the model (Table 8.33), we see…”
Changed to Table 11.49

Paragraph 8.60 made References to a Table 8.34 and 8.35
“8.60 Tables 8.34 and 8.35 (AppendixD.7)….”
Changed to Tables 11.50 and 11.51

Paragraph 8.61 made References to a Table 8.35
“…those not in a relationship (Table 8.35). Adult students receiving services….”
Changed to Table 11.51

Paragraph 8.62 made References to a Table 8.36 and 8.37
“ 8.62 Finally, tables 8.36 and 8.37 (Appendix D.7)….”
Changed to tables 11.52 and 11.53
“… total costs (Table 8.37).”
Changed to Table 11.53