It is estimated that there are 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK, as well as three million family members and carers. Autism is a lifelong condition. Autism is not a learning disability, but around half of autistic people may also have a learning disability.
Working to promote participation and engagement of autistic people in their communities
Many councils are engaged in innovative work to promote the participation and engagement of autistic people in their communities. Councils and partners deliver services and support covering areas such as, care and support, education, housing, employment and training of the workforce. Councils and councillors can use their unique local leadership role to raise awareness of autism, drive continued improvement in the delivery of services and support for autistic people and ensure that services and support are developed with autistic people, and not just delivered to them.
99.5 per cent of the public have now heard of autism
More than two in three autistic adults in England don’t get the support they need
Only 14 per cent said that there were enough mental health services in their area.
50 per cent of parents said their child had to wait more than a year for support at school, Source: National Autistic Society
The national strategy for autistic children, young people, and adults: 2021 – 2026
The Government published the next strategy to improve the lives of autistic people in July 2021. This is the first across government strategy which covers children and young people as well as adults. LGA Care and Health Improvement Programme briefing on The National Strategy for Autistic People, Children and Young People 2021 to 2026.
The strategy has been informed by independent research commissioned from the Policy Innovation Research Unit to undertake into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on autistic people and their families.
The government also commissioned Skills for Care, the National Development Team for Inclusion and the National Autistic Society to produce a guide to help commissioners to identify local demand and develop the right services and support for autistic people, which is published alongside this strategy
Councillor Andrew Hensman, First magazine
Useful resources and case studies
Must Know: is your council meeting the needs of autistic people? supports councillors to understand their council’s role and responsibilities to autistic people, their families and carers and shows why it is important to meet the needs of local autistic people.
This page includes case studies relating to autistic people.
- Thinking differently: a conversation with Councillor Andrew Hensman, LGA First magazine December 2018
- In March 2010 the Government produced the first adult autism strategy: “Fulfilling and rewarding lives: the strategy for adults with autism in England.” This was updated to Think Autism in 2014 – which was refreshed in 2018.
- LGA published Think autism: Examples of how local councils support people with autistic spectrum conditions – January 2016
- Building the Right Support: The LGA is working with key national organisations to support delivery of the Building the Right Support and Transforming Care programme, aimed at improving care and support for people with a learning disability and autism including those with a mental health condition.
- Left stranded: The impact of coronavirus on autistic people and their families in the UK, National Autistic Society
- The Autism Act, 10 Years On: A report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism on understanding, services and support for autistic people and their families in England
- Skills for Health Core Capabilities Framework for Supporting Autistic People
Learning from Life and Death Reviews of people with a learning disability and autistic people (LeDeR)
- During 2021/22 deaths of people who are autistic and do not have an associated learning disability will be reviewed as part of the LeDeR programme. Read the briefing about changes to LeDer
Children and Young People
- Information about our support for councils in helping the children, young people and families in their areas achieve the best possible outcomes.
- LGA SEND Information
- SEND Code of practice
Legislation and guidance
- Autism Act 2009 The Autism Act 2009 makes provision about the needs of adults on the autism spectrum and is the first ever disability-specific legislation to be passed in the UK.
- Statutory guidance for Local Authorities and NHS organisations to support implementation of the Adult Autism Strategy (2015).
- The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations.
- Reasonable adjustments are a legal requirement to make sure services are accessible to all disabled people. NHS information about reasonable adjustments. Health Education England has commissioned Skills for Care and NDTi to develop a resource to support people working in health and social care who don’t regularly support people with a learning disability and/or autistic people to understand how to make reasonable adjustments to provide fair and equitable support. Download the A for Adjustment resources.