What is the need

Autistic people experience  

  • Staggeringly lower life expectancy (53.9 years vs 70.2 in general population).
  • High suicide rate [2] and high suicide risk. 40% of adults who attempted suicide self-reported high autistic traits. 41% of autistic children showed signs of suicide ideation.
  • High rate of mental health problems.
  • Only 16% of autistic people are employed while 77% want to work.
  • Autistic adults are vulnerable to many types of negative life experience, including employment difficulties, financial hardship, domestic abuse and ‘mate-crime’. Individuals with the highest number of negative life experiences also experienced the highest number of current anxiety and depression symptoms and the lowest current life satisfaction.
  • Financial hardship: 45% of autistic adults said they had had a period of life without enough money to meet basic needs, compared to 25% of the non-autistic adults.
  • Domestic abuse: 20% of autistic adults that had been in a relationship had been sexual abused by their partner, compared to 9% of the non-autistic adults, and ‘mate-crime’: 70% said they had been bullied by someone they considered to be a friend, compared to 31% of the non-autistic adults.
  • 78% of autistic adults experienced sexually abuse, – an almost three-fold increased risk; sexual perpetrators actively target ND individuals.
  • Lower quality of life (QoL) than the general population in the UK.
  • Being in a relationship and receiving support, being employed, and having someone to talk to, someone to do things with are positive predictors of Qol
  • Better wellbeing in adults correlate with positive autism identity, understanding and recognition of contribution to society, perceived belonging, perceived social support and autism-led spaces, i.e. being amongst autistic people.
  • Alternatively, interventions aimed at neurotypical populations that promote ASD acceptance may lead to increased QoL that is not dependent on autistic people changing who they are.
  • “This research highlights the challenges that autistic adults face in our society. With the right support many of these events are preventable”, said Sarah Griffiths.