Autism and Inclusive Health and Social Care


Autism and Inclusive Health and Social Care

Wed, 29/03/2023 - 13:30 to 14:30


Mary Stewart
Heriot Watt

Background: For autistic people, the ageing process may be challenging as their health and social care needs change with age. These changes are likely to intersect with autism-related support needs such as anxiety and difficulties with change and uncertainty, difficulties with executive function, autobiographical memory, and the ability to think about the future 1-3. Autistic community-led ageing priorities identified via scoping sessions, focus groups and literature reviews4-5 indicate that support needs should include focus on health and wellbeing in ageing; people’s understanding of the ageing process; service planning; relationships and social inclusion; and legal and financial advocacy.

Objectives: To identify the areas of priority and gaps in social care support for older autistic people.

Methods: Participants included social care providers and autistic people aged 50+ completed questionnaires and/or interviews regarding social care provision (to date n=13, data collection will be completed March 2022).

Results and Conclusions: Initial themes have arisen from the data. For instance, participants have raised themes such as: interaction with the NHS; Healthy Ageing, Residential Care, and Lifelong Planning; and Training of Professionals. Autistic people reported a lack of understanding and knowledge among professionals relating to how best to work with them as they age. Autistic people reported a sense of fatigue that they have to continually train others in how to work with them. Older autistic people are not receiving the support they require to thrive. It is important that professionals are adequately trained to both work with autistic people and in working with age-related changes. Results will be discussed in light of what we learn from these studies and how we can utilise robotics and technology in healthcare to develop an inclusive healthcare system.


1 Boulter JADD. 2014;44:1391-402;
2 Barnard Autism. 2008;12:125-141;
3 Lind J Abnorm Psychol. 2010;119:896-905;
4 Rodgers Br J Soc Work 2019;40:1817-1836
5 Crompton Autism Adulthood.202;.121-127;