The new Autism strategy builds on and replaces the preceding adult autism strategy – Think Autism, which was published in 2014 and related to adults. This new strategy extends to children and young people for the first time, in recognition of the importance of ensuring that they are diagnosed and receive the right support as early as possible and throughout their lifetime.
The strategy has taken into account the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on autistic people and their families. The research identified that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened challenges many autistic people already faced, such as loneliness and social isolation, and anxiety. However, at the same time the research also showed the benefits of lockdowns for some autistic people, who have been better able to engage in virtual spaces, have felt less societal pressure and have been able to avoid anxiety-inducing activities like using public transport.
The strategy has 6 main areas of improvement:
- Improving understanding and acceptance of autism within society
- Improving autistic children and young people’s access to education, and supporting positive transitions in adulthood
- Supporting more autistic people into employment
- Tackling health and care inequalities for autistic people
- Building the right support in the community and supporting people in inpatient care
- Improving support within the criminal and youth justice system
|The National Strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 (PDF)
|Autism strategy implementation plan: 2021 to 2022 (Annex A)
|The National Strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 – easy read