Many countries provide services to help adults on the autism spectrum although the range and qualify of those services varies enormously between countries and may even vary within the same country.
These services may be offered by government agencies, by commercial agencies, by not-for-profit agencies or even by informal support networks.
In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made recommendations about the delivery of public care services to adults on the autism spectrum.
This includes a recommendation that all staff should work in partnership with adults on the autism spectrum and, where appropriate, with their families, partners and carers. It also recommended that local services should be coordinated by a local autism multi-agency strategy group. (For details of your local strategy group you should contact your local council.)
The rest of this page provides a very brief overview of some of the key services offered to autistic adults in the UK. However the fact that a service is described does not necessarily mean that you will be entitled to it nor does it mean that it will be easy to get.
For details of other services please see Organisations and websites about adults with autism and Autism Services Directory (Open in New Window) published by the National Autistic Society.
If you suspect you have autism you should contact your GP who may refer you onto a specialist diagnostic service which will make a formal assessment. Alternatively you can contact an independent diagnostic service, although you will have to pay for this and the diagnosis may not be accepted by some local authorities e.g. the Department of Work and Pensions.
More information about Diagnosis
Community care refers to non-medical services designed to help anyone over the age of 18 in the community who is assessed as needing such services.
Most community care services are provided or arranged by local authorities through their social services departments. Where someone is assessed as having health care needs as well as social care needs, there can be a joint funded package provided by both social services and the health authority.
In order to get services you will first need to be assessed as needing them. Normally, an assessment will be carried out by a social worker from your local SSD. This may take place after a formal diagnosis.
The social worker should then draw up a document known as a care plan. This will set out in which areas you need help and how this help is going to be provided. Once a local authority has identified a person as having needs which meet their eligibility criteria, they must make sure that services are offered to meet those needs. You can find out more about these eligibility criteria by asking the authority for a copy of their community care plan.
If you are eligible for services, your social worker may discuss the option of self-directed support (SDS) with you. SDS puts you in control of your care package by giving you more flexibility and choice in the services and activities that you feel will best meet your needs.
If you currently live at home with your family or by yourself the your local social services department may offer you some home-based services. These services may include the provision of practical assistance in the home, home adaptations, access to recreational/educational facilities, holidays, and assistance in travelling to community-based care services.
If you do not wish to live with your parents or carers you should ask your social worker for advice. They may refer you to your local housing department who will try to find somewhere for you to live. They may put you in touch with local housing associations or with an advice centre which can help you find housing.
There are a number of housing options available to adults with autism - including Residential Care, Sheltered Housing, Supported Living. Some services are run just for people with ASD, others cater for people with learning disabilities or mental heath needs as well.
Some adults with autism are able to find and hold down jobs by themselves. Unfortunately many are not able to do so and may require help from the government or other providers.
Most Jobcentres have Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) who provide support to jobseekers with disabilities. DEAs may not have autism-specific knowledge but will be able to advise you about getting work and the law relating to disability.
There are also a number of commercial and not for profit organisations that provide employment services for adults with autism.
As an adult with autism you may be entitled to one or more state benefits, such as Disabled Living Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, or Housing and Council Tax Benefit.
Parents and carers of adults with autism may be entitled to benefits such as Carer's Allowance, Housing and Council Tax Benefit, and Income Support..
For more information about benefits please visit the benefits section of the Gov UK website (Open in New Window) or see Publications on or for Adults on the Autism Spectrum
There are numerous other services available to adults on the autism spectrum inc. advocacy and advice services, day services, holiday services, etc.
There are numerous local support groups and networks throughout the UK providing a range of help. These include befriending/mentoring groups, social skills groups and local branches of national charities, such as the National Autistic Society.