Since 1962 the National Autistic Society has been campaigning to transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.

Why campaign?

Autistic people face inequality, misunderstanding and isolation. The National Autistic Society and our supporters campaign to protect the rights and interests of autistic people and their families. Through our campaigns we correct unfair policies and practices, we build public understanding and we create a movement of support. Together we can build a society that works for autistic people. 

How do we decide what to campaign on?

As a charity, the National Autistic Society has limited funds and capacity to campaign on everything. We have to be smart about where we will have the most impact. We decide what to campaign on based on two key factors:

1. The impact it will have – either transforming lives or changing attitudes

We do regular surveys to ask which changes would help autistic people and their families the most. This helps us ensure that a change would impact a large number of people's lives in a positive way.

2. The likelihood that our campaign will succeed in making a change.

We want to make sure that our campaigns result in changes that will make a difference. So we look at what the chances are of persuading politicians, businesses or the general public to make the changes that we think are necessary.

Find out what we are campaigning on now

How do we fund our campaigns?

Our campaigns are funded through the generous donations of individuals and charitable trusts. If you want us to continue creating change for autistic people and their families, please donate to this work.

We receive local Government funding for the care and education services we provide, but as an independent charity we make decisions on what to campaign about completely separately from that.

Our campaigns are based on what autistic people and families tell us is important and our chances for success. No Government funding goes into campaigning to change policy.

What are our political views?

As a charity we do not support any one political party. We work with Government to explain how we think policies might impact autistic people and to advocate changes that we think we make the biggest difference to people's lives.

We never have and never will advocate a party political position.

What is our relationship with national Government?

Along with self-advocates and other autism charities, we sit on the Department of Health-led Autism Programme board and liaise with a wide range of Government departments to make sure they understand autistic people's experiences better.

Sometimes national departments fund our services, for example the Education Rights Service. However, this is a tiny proportion of our income – less than 1%.

What is our relationship with MPs and Parliament?

For many years, our charity has been rated as one of the most effective disability charities by MPs of all parties. Along with our dedicated staff, our branch volunteers and other campaigners have played a huge part in this.

We also provide the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, chaired by Cheryl Gillan MP.

All party groups bring together MPs and peers who are interested in an issue and help them to stay up-to-date with the latest information, and to collaborate to get attention for key changes that need to take place.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism includes MPs of a wide range of parties. Many MPs have become involved because of our branches, volunteers and other campaigners bring their attention to what daily life is like for autistic people and what needs to change.