landscape shot of the Houses of Parliament

We want to guarantee as many MPs as possible champion autism if elected on the 12 December, and want to make sure autism is a priority for the next government.

During the election, candidates or their campaigners may come knocking on your door. This is a great opportunity to make sure autism is on the agenda by sharing your experience and asking them some questions. We’ve put together a few suggestions below.

  1. How will you make sure that autistic people and their families get the support they need?

    We know recent research has found that more than 2 in 3 autistic adults in England do not get the support they need, and this could mean as many as 327,000 autistic people are struggling to do the things other people take for granted, like socialising, managing money or going out and about.

    We’re calling on the next government to put specialist autism teams in every area of England. A specialist autism team is a group of health and care professionals that provide diagnosis services and support autistic people after being diagnosed. They’re vital in stopping autistic people falling through the cracks. This needs to be backed up with urgent investment in the social care system.

  2. How are you going to improve public understanding of autism?

    There isn’t enough understanding of autism across the UK, and this has a huge impact on autistic people’s day-to-day lives. Our research showed 64% of autistic people avoid going shopping, while over a quarter have been asked to leave a public place because of their autism. This isn’t good enough.

    To make a real difference in public understanding of autism, we want the next government to commit to a nationwide public understanding campaign to create a society that works for autistic people.

  3. Will your party publish the new national autism strategy as soon as possible after taking office – and make sure this covers both children and young people as well as adults?

    Every few years, the Government must deliver an autism strategy, which sets out how support and services for autistic people should be improved. The next autism strategy was due to be released before the end of this year, but the General Election means this will now be delayed. As a priority, the next government must publish a new autism strategy to improve understanding and support for autistic children and adults, delivering on the promise of the Autism Act.

  4. How will you end the mental health crisis for autistic people?

    A recent survey of autistic people and families found that three in four autistic adults said they’ve reached out for mental health support in the past five years. But for too many people, the right support simply isn’t there. This can lead people to become really isolated and in some cases even find themselves in crisis. Unfortunately, we know that people are still ending up trapped in mental health hospitals, because there’s nowhere else to go.

    The next government needs to make sure there is local, properly funded mental health support, provided by professionals who properly understand autism and the support they might need. We also urge the next government to review the definition of autism as a ‘mental disorder’ in the Mental Health Act.

  5. How will you make sure professionals in the public sector properly understand autism?

    A recent survey of autistic people and their families found that just 4% of autistic adults in England think Jobcentre Plus staff have a good understanding of autism, while 6% think the same about police. Often a lack of professional understanding of autistic people can mean that they are misunderstood or run into unexpected difficulty.

    The next government must make sure all public sector employees, from teachers to doctors, Jobcentre staff and police, have the autism training they need to create public services that work for autistic people.

  6. How will you ensure more autistic people become employed?

    National Autistic Society research found that only one in six autistic people are in full-time paid employment, and often people who are in jobs are under-employed. We know not all autistic people are able to work, but everyone who does should be supported to work in a role that matches their skills.

    We want to see the next government working with businesses to become more autism-friendly. Often employers want to support autistic employees, but don’t know how. We need the government to take the lead.

These questions might help find out more about some of the important issues that autistic people face. We have also produced a downloadable manifesto, which outlines the key priorities about autism for the next government.

See our manifesto