The New National Strategy for Autistic Children, Young People and Adults

On 21st July 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Education published their national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026.

“As a society, we’ve come a long way since the landmark 2009 Autism Act. We’ve never had a greater public awareness of hidden disabilities like autism. That awareness is increasingly reflected in how our country is run, from the NHS to local government services. Although we’ve come so far over the last decade, there must be no limit to the ambitions of autistic people; they should have the same opportunities as everyone else in society. For me, our goal must be nothing less than making sure autistic people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and ages – in all parts of the country – get the support they need to live full and happy lives.” Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Why is a new autism strategy needed?
This strategy builds on and replaces the former adult autism strategy ‘Think Autism’, which was published back in April 2014 and was limited only to adults. This new strategy extends the scope to children and young people for the first time, in recognition of the importance of ensuring that they are diagnosed and receive the right support as early as possible, and throughout their lifetime.

The roadmap for the next 5 years…
Within this strategy, the government sets out measures of success for each of the priority areas. They want to be able to demonstrate that this strategy has transformed autistic people and their families’ lives in the next 5 years by:

  • improving understanding and acceptance of autism within society
  • improving autistic children and young people’s access to education, and supporting positive transitions into adulthood
  • supporting more autistic people into employment
  • tackling health and care inequalities for autistic people
  • building the right support in the community and supporting people in inpatient care
  • improving support within the criminal and youth justice systems

Among many others, these are just 5 of the commitments set out in the strategy for the first year:

  • invest £10.5 million to test and implement the most effective ways to reduce diagnosis waiting times for children and young people
  • invest £2.5 million of funding to improve the quality of adult diagnostic and post-diagnostic pathways
  • provide £18.35 million to prevent crises and avoidable admissions into inpatient care, improve the quality of care for autistic people in inpatient mental health services and facilitate discharges back into the community
  • provide £21 million funding to Local Authorities through the Community Discharge Grant, to accelerate discharges
  • provide £25 million of funding to improve the capacity and capability of 7-day specialist multidisciplinary learning disability services and crisis support for each local area, and £15 million of funding to put in place keyworkers for children and young people with complex needs, including those who are autistic

If you would like to discuss the new national autism strategy, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, call 03305 552233 or email

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