To mark our 50th birthday, we commissioned the largest ever survey into autism, in order to show what life is like in the UK for people affected by the condition.

The resulting report, The way we are: autism in 2012, was based on the survey’s findings and is available to download for free here.

Covering the wide range of autism experiences, from diagnosis and employment to school and independent living, the report shows that whilst there have been enormous strides in autism awareness since the NAS started life in 1962, there is still work to do. Some of it does make for difficult reading but for all the troubling experiences there are also many stories of hope and courage.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey and to those who shared their experiences with us. Interviews with some of these people are featured here.

As we celebrate our 50th birthday and all that The National Autistic Society (NAS) has achieved, this report reaffirms our commitment to working hard to make sure that all people affected by autism get the right support at the right time and are able to lead the lives that they choose.