We’ve worked with autistic people, researchers and health professionals to develop a set of recommendations for policy makers who are reviewing the English Autism Strategy. 

What is the Autism Strategy?

The English Autism Strategy sets out how public services should support autistic people across the country. There are similar strategies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

How can we influence the strategy?

Throughout 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care are leading a full review of the Autism Strategy. They will be launching a call-for-evidence about how the current Strategy is working and what the next Strategy should look at. As the UK's autism research charity we are feeding the latest evidence into the strategy.

Our recommendations

We have worked with autistic people, relatives and researchers to develop a set of briefings. These contain recommendations on a series of topics based on the latest research evidence. We will release these throughout March, April and May 2019.

Briefings out now:

Eating disorders

Approximately 1 in 5 women with anorexia in eating disorder services are autistic. The evidence about how to support them is moving on, services and policies to tackle eating problems must do so as well. 

Read full briefing

Adult mental health

We need to get better at preventing, identifying and treating the mental health problems that almost 8 in 10 autistic people face. This is the community’s top priority for research.

Read full briefing

Children and young people's mental health

Mental health problems are currently the norm, not the exception for autistic children. Services need to be prepared and resourced to support young autistic people effectively.

Read full briefing

Suicide prevention

A disproportionate number of people who die by suicide are autistic. Evidence about suicide in the autistic community is evolving rapidly, prevention efforts need to do so as well.

Read full briefing

Epilepsies

Epilepsy is the leading cause of early death for autistic people with learning disabilities. Developing personalised treatments to prevent seizures should be one of the highest priorities of autism science but almost no research is working towards it. 

Read full briefing

Other co-occurring conditions

Autistic people are more likely to develop a wide range of health conditions. The health inequalities facing autistic people are relevant to most NHS workstreams. 

Read full briefing

Reasonable adjustments

The importance of reasonable adjustments in healthcare is widely accepted. We need to support services to personalise adjustments and provide more choices about how to access care. 

Read full briefing

Health checks

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to piloting regular health checks for autistic adults. That project must work collaboratively with the research underway to design an effective health check. 

Read full briefing

Access to adult diagnosis

Most autistic people are adults, but most adults are undiagnosed. We must ensure autistic adults can access recognition and support when they need it.

Read full briefing

Adult diagnosis process

There is growing evidence and consensus about how to effectively diagnose autistic adults, but the process people go through still varies widely across the country. We need to work together and tackle the unwarranted variation.

Read full briefing

Post-diagnostic support for adults

Currently, it’s the norm for autistic adults to receive no support after diagnosis. Services and policy makers need to see post-diagnostic support as their opportunity to tackle serious health inequalities. 

Read full briefing

Diagnosing autistic women and girls

Autistic women and girls were almost entirely overlooked in the past and continue to face barriers to diagnosis today. It's past time we combat stereotypes and delivered parity.

Read full briefing

Employment

Many autistic people want to work but are shut out by inaccessible recruitment processes and barriers in the workplace. We’re working with researchers to help employers to reach this untapped talent pool and enable autistic people to maximise their potential.

Read full briefing

Briefings coming soon:

  • Enabling Environment


How we created the recommendations

In 2018, we ran an online consultation to ask autistic people and their supporters about the issues that matter most to them. 

Our team worked with an autistic advisory group to review the responses and decide which issues to focus on. We prioritised topics that were community priorities and had new evidence to drive change.

We then worked with professional experts and experts by experience to review what the current evidence says, what we still need to find out and what we can do now.

How will we make change happen?

We are sharing these briefings and working with policy makers, charities and services to advise them in making evidence-led changes. 

We will continue to campaign on these topics until every autistic person has a chance of a happy, healthy and long life.

What can you do?

Join Discover

You can keep up to date with these briefings and opportunities to get involved in campaigning by joining the Discover network.

Tell the Government and Parliament what you think

You can also share your thoughts in this Department of Health consultation about the Autism Strategy or in this All-Party Parliamentary Group consultation on care and support for autistic people.

Donate

Support research in the areas we've highlighted with a one-off or small monthly gift.