Most autistic people are adults. We’re understanding autism at every age to improve diagnosis, support and services.

Our pioneering centre at Newcastle University is leading the world in adulthood research.

By understanding each autistic person and their life experience they are

  • improving the way autistic adults are diagnosed and supported
  • developing personalised therapies that work for each autistic person.
  • finding ways to improve mental and physical health in autistic people.
  • improving autistic people’s quality of life through doing the research that matters to them

The research process

Autistic and non-autistic researchers are working together to interview autistic adults, their families and carers to find out more about their:

  • health needs
  • life experiences
  • priorities for research

A national cohort (Adult Autism Spectrum Cohort, AASC-UK) makes the information available to other researchers and speeds up progress to identify the best ways to support autistic people at every stage of their lives. Autistic people and families can join the database and get involved in research.

The team have already recruited over 800 autistic adults of all ages and almost 300 family members. They are running a longitudinal study, which means they are collecting data from each person in the study over many years. Using surveys, interviews and focus groups they are identifying patterns of health needs in autistic adults and their research preferences.

I hope she’s got more than just being cared for to look forward to

Gill, mum

How this project is making a difference

Involving the community in research is already answering important questions. For example, why autistic adults have more mental health problems and how having a job makes a real difference to their quality of life. A better understanding of their health needs and preferences is encouraging more research to be done on the areas that matter most to autistic people.