Living with autism as an adult can present unique challenges, but having a strong support network can significantly improve the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum.
In the UK, help for adults with autism is available in many forms including funding for accommodation and housing, recreational and social groups, and advocacy services.
Here you’ll find a helpful overview of the support available for adults with autism in the UK. Some of these services are funded through your local authority or Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) while others are free of charge.
Funding for Autism Support
In the UK, there are various funding options available to help cover the costs of autism support services such as residential care, supported living or home modifications. The key funding options include:
- Local Authority Funding: Local authorities provide funding for social care and support services. This funding may cover a wide range of services, such as assessments, care packages, respite care, and day programs.
- National Health Service (NHS) Funding: The NHS funds healthcare services, including assessments, diagnosis, and medical interventions for autism. This can include funding for therapies like speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health support.
- Disability Benefits: Individuals with autism and their families may be eligible for certain disability benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for adults, or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those unable to work due to their condition. Learn more.
- Access to Work Scheme: The Access to Work scheme, run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), provides funding for reasonable adjustments in the workplace, including support workers, communication aids, and specialised equipment to help individuals with autism maintain employment.
Accommodation and Housing
There are many different types of accommodation and housing solutions available for people with autism who find it challenging to live alone without support.
These options range from receiving in-home help directly in the family home to comprehensive residential care homes that include both accommodation and 24/7 support.
Remember that all health and social care providers in England are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. If you are looking for accommodation or housing and are trying to determine the quality of the care being provided, it is a good idea to check the provider’s latest CQC Inspection Report.
If someone has complex, overlapping or substantial healthcare needs that make it difficult for them to live independently, residential care homes can be a suitable option. Residential care is a comprehensive service that includes accommodation, daily activity programmes and round-the-clock care and support for people with substantial support needs.
In a residential care home, people with complex needs share a homely and stimulating community-based environment. 24/7 support from a specialist team is included. Each individual has access to private spaces while still being able to enjoy the many benefits of community living.
Residential care homes feature special accommodation to ensure that the residents have the support they need to manage any complex needs or health conditions. This could include special adaptations and equipment like sensory rooms, ceiling tracking, hoists or assistive technologies. Anything that allows people to feel comfortable and safe in their surroundings.
Financial help may be available from your local council to fund residential care. An Adult Needs Assessment will need to be conducted by the local council to determine the levels of care an individual requires and the support they are entitled to.
Supported living is a service that allows people living with autism or other complex needs to live as independently as possible in their own homes, alone or with other people. People in supported living may choose to live on their own, with a roommate or move into a shared home where communal spaces are shared and everyone contributes to the bills and upkeep of the home.
The emphasis of supported living is to empower individuals to make their own choices about their day-to-day living. The dedicated staff is always on hand to provide extra practical, physical or emotional support. This could include assistance with personal care, learning daily living skills, participating in social activities inside and outside the home or accessing community resources.
Unlike residential care homes, supported living provides the people who live there with individual tenancies. This allows people to have a home of their own while enjoying greater independence and control over their own environment. The house itself is often provided through a specialist landlord or Housing Association while the individual support is offered by a care provider like Liaise.
Domiciliary Support Services
Domiciliary care, also known as home care or home support, empowers individuals with autism to live comfortably at home while receiving the additional support they need. A professional domiciliary carer can visit someone with autism at home to provide support with everyday life, ranging from assistance with personal care to accompanying them on trips into the community.
This specialised form of care is designed to cater to the unique needs of each individual, fostering a sense of familiarity and routine within their own living environment.
Domiciliary support can also be used as a form of respite for family members. Family members could often benefit from a break from their support duties to catch up on personal obligations or simply relax and recharge. At-home domiciliary care allows family members to enjoy a break from their daily routine with the assurance that their loved one is being supported by a professional.
Many national and local organisations and charities offer activity programmes throughout the week designed to give people with autism the opportunity to learn new skills and socialise. Some day centres even provide all day programmes to support family members that work throughout the week.
If you’re considering day options, take a look at the National Autistic Society Centres. They provide a range of personalised activities for people with autism ranging from family breakfast clubs to day trips and weekend experiences.
Recreation and Social Groups
For adults with autism, engaging in recreational or social groups is a great way to make friends, improve social skills and build confidence. Social groups and clubs for adults with autism offer a welcoming space where people can interact with others who share similar experiences and interests.
There are all kinds of recreational activities and social groups available, many of which are tailored to meet the specific, unique needs of people with autism. Some groups involve a shared interest such as yoga, photography, games or arts, while others are simply social groups that meet up and take part in local events and activities together.
To find recreational activities and local groups near you, try a web search or contacting your local branch of the National Autistic Society.
Here are social groups and recreational programs available in the UK. Please note that availability will vary depending on the region:
Autism Plus offers a range of services for adults with autism, including employment support, social activities, and creative arts workshops.
The Autism Group Clubs
The Autism Group hosts several clubs for young people and adults with autism including gaming clubs and arts and crafts.
National Autistic Society’s (NSA) Social Groups
The NSA offers relaxing social spaces where people with autism can meet, socialise and participate in fun activities.
Sense offers many free programmes for adults with complex needs like inclusive dance programmes, sensory walks, seated yoga and other fun activities.
There are times when someone feels that they cannot comfortably communicate their needs and wants. An advocate supports an individual in building the confidence and skills they need to voice their concerns and advocate for themselves. Advocates can be a great support tool for adults with autism by ensuring their needs and wishes are respected and their voices heard.
Advocacy is a free service provided to people who require extra support in navigating the complex world of health and social care. Advocates are independent. They do not work for the council, the NHS or care providers.
How We Can Support Your Family
At Liaise we provide personal, progressive and person-centred support designed to empower people to live richer lives.
Through our residential care and supported living services, people with autism and other support needs can learn independent living skills and develop friendships in a positive, structured environment.
We are here to support you and your family every step of the way. If you would like to learn more about residential care or supported living, do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.