In this section, autistic people and those close to them talk about their lives as they grow older.

Peter's story

Funding is an ongoing, lifelong issue. Things are no different to 40 years ago, and that cannot be right. Currently Peter has no one-to-one funding, so his world keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Marie's story

I feel very protective of my brother, Peter. He is dependent on staff to meet almost all his needs and to ensure he has quality of life.

Manda's story

I looked at the world and the world looked at me for 50 years. Then I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Getting the diagnosis had a profound effect. I could see myself at last.

Freddie's story

I'm 70 now, and wasn't diagnosed with Asperger’s until I was 67. Looking back, I believe I subconsciously chose an unsettled, nomadic kind of life in preference to a conventional one in order to avoid social complications.

John's story

John has a lovely, open character, but his happiness is fragile. Without positive reinforcement, he can slip easily into depression and a state of negativity. John lives at The National Autistic Society's Somerset Court service.

Mark's story

Routine is everything to Mark. He is a very orderly man and his days are governed by routines, which help him maintain a tranquil mood. Now in his 50s, Mark has lived at the autism-specific Somerset Court service since 1974.

Jo's story

I am my older brother's landlord and main carer. I do not know whether we did the right thing or not in agreeing to support him the way we have. It raises dilemmas which no-one should have to consider.

Lizzie's story

I like the way it's okay nowadays for people to just sit in a coffee shop by themselves. There's something nice about feeling you're part of the world and not having the stress of having to be communicating. 

James' story

At 62, I have a flat, a social life, hobbies and a part-time voluntary job. But it is not the life I envisaged for myself as a young man.

Mike's story

My friendships enhance. I have friends who are understanding. I remember when I was overcome with emotion and one of them spoke to me and put me at ease.

Robert and Marian's story

Robert's and Marian's son, Charles, has Asperger syndrome. His parents talk about their concerns for the future. Charles was not included in this conversation because his parents were worried about the degree of distress it might cause him.

Tom's story

When I went to university, I won the year prize as one of the top three achievers in maths. I was happy doing the degree questions. But I couldn't thread the string through the holes in the maths paper to do it up properly. 

Mikie's story

The main thing about having Asperger’s is about stumbling through life. It’s as if there’s some vital lesson in life that I never learned, that everybody else has. And I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to catch up with it. 

Find out more about autism and ageing.