We are delighted to see the Government announce that “reducing the gap in life expectancy for autistic people” is their top autism priority.

The autism strategy has never before mentioned the life expectancy gap between autistic people and the rest of the population.

We warmly welcome the Government’s new focus on life expectancy in their refreshed autism strategy. It is a tragedy that so many autistic people are dying decades before their peers, in many cases from entirely preventable causes.

Jon Spiers, Chief Executive

What exactly has changed?

Think Autism is the Government’s national strategy for supporting autistic adults in England. It was last updated in March 2015. The Government has recently reviewed the strategy and agreed that more progress is needed. 

Their objective for the revised strategy is to reduce the gap in life expectancy for autistic people. This is the result of new research we highlighted which shows that autistic people face higher risks of early death than the typical population.

Five groups have been developed to drive the  strategy forward in areas, such as research, NHS staff training and healthcare support. Each group will will include at least two autistic people. 

We are involved in some of these groups to ensure that policy is informed by the latest evidence and priorities of autistic people and families. 

Autistica has been campaigning tirelessly for action to address this, ever since we first revealed the appalling rates of early death among autistic people in 2016. We look forward to working with the Government, NHS, autistic people and families to ensure everyone can enjoy longer, healthier and happier lives.

Jon Spiers, Chief Executive

Thank you so much to everyone who has campaigned with us to push this issue up the political agenda. We will continue to work on tackling the leading causes of death amongst autistic people through research and information.