Autistic spectrum conditions affect around one in one hundred of the general population. The nature of the spectrum means that not all will require intensive services but most will need at least some level of understanding and support at some stage in their lives. This practice enquiry, which ran from December 2009 to July 2010, was the third strand of a SCIE project sponsored by the Department of Health, in order to inform and support their strategy for adults with ASC. The key question that led to the practice enquiry was whether existing services and strategies supported or hindered people with ASC to live independently and to what extent existing processes excluded people with ASC by denying social care support to enable them to access services and mainstream provision..
The survey sought to invite and consider a range of views about the provision of services to support independent living for adults with ASC, from people with ASC receiving services, those who have had difficulty accessing support, their carers and other stakeholders. It concluded that there was a lack of understanding of ASC and of related skills and knowledge, among both social care and health professionals. Respondents also expressed concerns about lack of suitable services. The practical barriers to access, including communication barriers, emerged as significant, as these act as barriers to accessing assessments of all kinds, including routine medical and dental examinations and treatment.