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Autistic adults 'failed' by system

5th June 2009

The National Audit Office says that thousands of people with autism in England are failing to get the diagnosis and specialist help they need.

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In many local authority areas there are no specific services for adults with autism and councils have no idea how many adults with the syndrome live in their area.

With the government set to issue its first autism strategy later this year, the NAO raised concerns that children with autism are often abandoned by specialist services when they reach the age of 18 because there is a lack of adult services and no proper transition plan.

NAO director of health value for money studies Mark Davies said there are adults with autism who had never been diagnosed with the condition.

He said: "We would like people to look at our report and the modelling we have done because we think there is a good case for having more specialist support."

Half of people with autism have a learning disability, but those who do not still find it difficult to access support for housing, further education and employment, say the NAO.

It also claims better diagnosis and support, especially for those with high-functioning autism such as Asperger’s syndrome, could save the taxpayer £67m a year.

Care services minister Phil Hope said a study was being done to work out exactly how many adults have autism in England.

The National Autistic Society said neither the government, people with autism, or the taxpayer were getting value for money from existing autism services.

 

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