We’ve worked with autistic people, families, researchers and professionals to develop a series of recommendations for policymakers.
About the briefings
We develop Autistica Briefings on a range of topics where there is emerging evidence or opportunities for policy change. The Autistica Briefings summarise what know from research, what we still need to find out and what can be done now to improve the lives of autistic people. We prioritise topics that are community priorities.
Each briefing is reviewed by leading researchers, autistic people and families with lived experience relevant to the topic.
We first developed briefings in 2019 to provide the Government with evidence for the review of the English Autism Strategy.
How they will change policy
We share the Autistica Briefings 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.
Changing evidence: Some briefings are recent and others over a year old, so the information may have moved on since their publication. The briefings on this page are in date order, with the most recent first.
Impact of COVID-19 on autistic people
Autistic people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, but some are reporting positive experiences of lockdown. Instead of leaving autistic people behind, this is an opportunity to create a world where they can thrive.COVID-19 briefing (PDF)
Social care for autistic people has been in crisis for decades because we don’t know what works. By investing a tiny fraction of current social care spending on research, the Government could greatly improve outcomes for autistic people.Social care briefing (PDF)
When we talk about autism we often focus on the challenges that autistic people face. Researchers across the world are now looking how we can assess and build on autistic people’s strengths. This Action Briefing was produced with Curtin University in Australia and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.Strength-based approach briefing (PDF)
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.Employment briefing (PDF)
Autistic people have a right to access public spaces. Our citizen science initiative will build our understanding of which environments work for autistic people and how to account for their diverse and sometimes conflicting sensory experiences.Environments briefing (PDF)
Access to adult diagnosis
Most autistic people are adults, but most adults are undiagnosed. We must ensure adults can access recognition and support when they need it.Access to adult diagnosis briefing (PDF)
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.Adult diagnosis process briefing (PDF)
Post-diagnostic support for adults
Currently, it’s the norm for autistic adults to receive no support after diagnosis. Services and policymakers need to see post-diagnostic support as their opportunity to tackle serious health inequalities.
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 deliver parity.Diagnosing autistic women and girls briefing (PDF)
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.Epilepsies briefing (PDF)
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.
Co-occurring conditions briefing (PDF)
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.Reasonable adjustments briefing (PDF)
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.Health checks briefing (PDF)
Adult mental health
We need to get better at preventing, identifying and treating the mental health problems faced by almost 8 in 10 autistic people. This is the community’s top priority for research.
Adult mental health briefing (PDF)
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 to support young autistic people effectively.Children and young people’s mental health briefing (PDF)
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 follow suit.Suicide prevention briefing (PDF)
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 disorders must do so as well.Eating disorders briefing (PDF)