Tell the Government it can't wait any longer - Autism diagnosis crisis

Our campaigns in England have achieved an incredible amount for people on the autism spectrum over the years. But there is still a long way to go until autistic people get the support, education and training they need to live their life as independently as possible.

If you've come here to take action today, please celebrate the successes of the Autism diagnosis crisis campaign by sharing the news with your friends - you can read about the gains we made on this web page. Please also sign up to receive campaign updates if you've not already done so, to be kept up-to-date on our latest campaigns.

In this section you can also learn more about key policy areas we're lobbying on, including work and benefitshealth and social care, and education. You can also read about our Young Campaigners Group.

Every Teacher

Every teacher deserves the right training. Every autistic child needs a teacher who understands them. Every parent should have confidence that their children are supported by teachers who understand them.

Let’s get autism training for #EveryTeacher. Join our campaign.

Autism diagnosis crisis

Long waiting times for autism diagnosis have pushed people to crisis point for too long. So in August 2015 we launched a campaign to help end the autism diagnosis crisis and change things for the better.

Recent research indicated people are waiting over two years on average for an autism diagnosis after seeking professional help. Autistic people can experience avoidable mental health problems because of this.

So many people joined us to speak out about the autism diagnosis crisis. Getting a timely diagnosis can mean better access to support, which is why it’s so important.

The Government and NHS England needed to hear our voices, in order to understand that timely autism diagnosis had to be prioritised. Your support was overwhelming.

Nearly 12,000 of you signed our open letter to the NHS in England and Government. We gained significant support in Parliament with 1,500 people raising the issue with their MPs. This prompted 40 written parliamentary questions, and so the autism diagnosis crisis was discussed on the floor of the House of Commons. Our policy experts had numerous meetings with MPs to build on this understanding.

What we've achieved - share the news

Our campaigners gathered outside Parliament, which prompted over 500 people to respond to the Government consultation on NHS priorities urging Jeremy Hunt to make autism a priority.

Our campaigning pushed the Government and NHS to tackle some of the obstacles preventing timely autism diagnosis, in significant ways.

Thanks to you, for the first time ever the NHS will start to measure the number of people diagnosed with autism in every area of England.

This is a game-changing development for the future of influencing autism policy. The data can play a vital role in getting waiting times down. Because it shows how many autistic people there are in a given area, so that services can be planned and budgeted for.

Your campaigning pushed the Government to include reducing the inequality faced by autistic people in its ‘mandate’ to the NHS.

This means it’s now a central aim of the NHS in England to make sure autistic people can access health services, including diagnosis. We’ll be pushing to make sure this creates real change in services. Please share the good news with your friends and family!

We are also continuing to work on this across the UK. In Wales, improving access to diagnosis is part of our campaign for an Autism Act in the nation. In Scotland we worked on the revision of guidance for professionals on diagnosis. In Northern Ireland we know that some local trusts are breaching waiting times laid out in ‘Six Steps of Autism Care’. They continue to work on this behind the scenes.

In just five months, we’ve achieved historic commitments from the Government and NHS in England towards people with autism.

Thanks to your campaigning, we’ve started to break down major obstacles preventing timely autism diagnosis.

Our efforts won’t stop here – we will continue pushing to make sure these changes make real improvements for people waiting for an autism diagnosis.