Support for Autism
7 Mar 2023
Sep 8, 2023
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how a person acts and communicates with the world around them. Over 1% of the population has autism, but everyone experiences autism differently.
It’s important to remember that autism doesn’t need to be ‘cured’ as it is just a difference in how the brain works. Autistic people may require some form of support to help with specific struggles they face.
The type of support someone seeks depends on the area of life they would like help in. There are lots of options available including:
An autism coach can help with discovering strengths and building on them through goal setting and action planning. They might also help someone implement strategies to overcome any autism-related struggles.
👉🏽 Local council
The local council can carry out a needs assessment to identify an autistic person’s needs and support or financial benefits they may be entitled to. This changes depending on the level of support someone needs. A needs assessment can be booked through the local council by calling them or applying online.
People under 25 might be offered different support by their council. This support varies between councils, so it’s best to check what is offered by your council.
👉🏽 Occupational therapy
Occupational therapists work with autistic people to understand their sensory processing differences and to encourage and maintain skills for daily life. This might include a sensory diet to help improve how a person feels throughout the day.
👉🏽 Speech and language therapy
Autistic people might seek out speech and language therapy if they find communication difficult. This can include verbal, non-verbal and social communication.
👉🏽 Workplace or classroom accommodations
Accommodations that are offered by someone’s place of work or study can differ, so it is best to talk to your employer or teachers about how they can best support you. Accommodations can include things like allowing the use of noise-cancelling headphones or flexible work hours.
If someone is happy to discuss their autism with their employer, they can ask for a workplace needs assessment and reasonable adjustments. A workplace needs assessment identifies an employee's unique strengths and challenges and recommends accommodations that might help them perform their job to the best of their ability.
Autistic people might also be able to get support from the government's Access to Work programme, which funds practical support in the workplace. Autism may also fall under the Equality Act (2010) which means an employer is legally obligated to provide reasonable adjustments and support.
At university, students with autistic people are often provided with additional support. Again, this support can differ depending on the university so it is best to discuss it with the individual university.
👉🏽 Financial support
Autistic people may be entitled to financial support from the government. This might include Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, and universal credit. Autistic people at university may also be able to access the Disabled Student’s Allowance. Student Finance England might ask them to do a needs assessment so they can determine what support they require. The allowance can be used to access this support.
👉🏽 Support groups
The diagnosis team might provide information on local support groups, or there is some available online. There is also Noetic’s community, where you can talk to people with similar experiences. Sometimes just reading other people's experiences is beneficial, you don't have to post yourself.
👉🏽 Family and friends
Family and friends can help provide emotional support for autistic people. They can also be with you when meeting with doctors and support workers, or when doing the needs assessment to help advocate for you if you want that support.
Everyone's autistic experience is personal and different, so it’s best to take the time to work out what support will be most beneficial for them.