4433.0.55.003 - Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2014  First Issue
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Carers (both formal and informal) have an important role in helping many people with intellectual disability to live and actively participate in their community. In 2012, there were around 440,100 people with intellectual disability who received assistance with activities of daily living. Most of these people received assistance from informal carers (344,100 people).

Graph 3: People with Disability Receiving Assistance, by disability type and selected assistance providers, 2012

The source of support showed different patterns amongst persons with intellectual disability in comparison with other types of disability, and is related to the young and older age profile of this population. Given the concentration of intellectual disability in younger years it is no surprise that parents provided a large proportion of informal support. Of those receiving assistance, over half received assistance from their mothers (53%) and approximately one-quarter received assistance from their fathers (26%). In contrast, those with other types of disability received assistance mostly from a spouse or partner (43%), other formal provider (e.g. gardeners, cleaners, meals on wheels etc.) (29%) or podiatrist (21%) (Graph 3).

Other than parents, teachers, teacher’s aides or school services officers were the most common providers of assistance for children (aged less than 18 years) with intellectual disability. Of those children who received assistance, around half received it from this group associated with their schooling, compared with a quarter of children with other disabilities.

For adults with intellectual disability receiving assistance, parents were again the most common provider of assistance (35%), however, many also received assistance from their spouse or partner (27%). This differed for adults with other disability types where almost half received assistance from their spouse or partner (46%) and only a small proportion received assistance from their parents (6%). Adults receiving care from their parents may be of particular concern, because as their parents age they may no longer be able to care for them (Endnote 4).

People who receive assistance with the any of the three core activities (communication, self-care and mobility) from a family member or friend are asked to nominate the person who provides the highest level of informal care to them and these people are referred to as their 'primary carer'. A similar picture to that outlined above is seen for those people with intellectual disability who have a primary carer. In two-thirds (66%) of cases the primary carer is the person's parent and for a further 22% of people the primary carer is their partner.