Autism and Adults
Autism is a lifelong condition and therefore there are many adults who are on the spectrum in Northern Ireland. Accurate prevalence figures for adults can be a difficulty as there are many adults who do not have a formal diagnosis of Autism and therefore statistics can be misleading.
Many adults have only received a diagnosis of Autism in their adult life as awareness of Autism and the understanding of the whole spectrum increases. There are also many adults who recognise that they have Autism traits or are Autistic but may not have a formal diagnosis.
“As far back as I can remember I had intricate thoughts and ideas which have made me unique. As a young child in early primary school I used to spend most of my time just doing my own thing and not really making much sense to people. My ever intriguing thoughts and ideas were locked up in my head and I couldn’t communicate them with others”
Marc Segal, 'Coping: A survival Guide'
Autism NI has worked in partnership with The Orchardville Society, NOW, Positive Futures, Autism Initiatives, Praxis and Action Mental Health in recent years to accelerate the progress in adult provision in Northern Ireland.
Increasingly, there are many adults who seek a formal Autism assessment to give them answers, further information and access to support. Often, the first step of this process is to visit your GP and request a referral for Autism Assessment and Diagnosis through your Health and Social Care Trust. There are also private assessment and diagnosis options available.
If you would like further information and support regarding adult diagnosis, please contact our Family Support Team.
Adults with Autism who have an accompanying Learning Disability normally have access (from age 19 on leaving Special Education Provision) to Day Care provision in an Adult Training Centre (ATC) or Day Care Centre provided by the local Health & Social Care Trust or funded voluntary agency provider. Activities are Social & Life Skills based and may include some work based experience.
There are a number of supported employment options available for Autistic Adults in NI. These services may work with an individual to help them gain skills to be ready for the workplace or help them through the recritment period or to maintain their job role. Please contact our Family Support Department for further information and contacts.
Autism NI provide a range of training options for employers to understand more about how they can support an employee on the spectrum and what their responsibilities are. For further information about these training courses, please contact our Training Department.
Autism NI have worked in partnership with a range of organisations across Europe to create an Employers resource toolkit, to help improve employment opportunities for Autistic Adults. See further information about the ABLE Project here.