Some people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) grow up without their condition being recognised, sometimes through choice. However, once diagnosed, adults may access a range of autism services, such as social groups that may be available locally.
Adults with ASD will need to consider where they'd like to live, and whether they might need any support at home.
It is never too late to be diagnosed with ASD, although it is not always easy as some primary care trusts (PCTs) do not provide NHS funding for diagnosing ASD in adults.
Read more information about diagnosing autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults or see the National Autistic Society website for a range of diagnosis information for adults.
Where to live
Adults with ASD can live in all types of housing. For example, some people may be suited to a residential care home, while others may prefer to live on their own and receive home support. Others live completely independently.
Supported living can work very well for some adults with ASD. They can choose a place to live in the community, they can live alone or with other people, and get the support they need. They may need 24-hour care, or they may only need help with important tasks for a couple of hours each week.
Some adults with ASD may not want to move out of the family home. A 2001 survey by the National Autistic Society found that half of adults with ASD still lived with their parents. Caring for anyone with a disability can be challenging, and parents may need additional support. For more information, see the Carers Direct practical guide to caring.
Respite care is short-term care provided either in or outside the family home. It is funded by the local authority and gives families and carers of people with ASD a break from their daily care routine.
Read more information about breaks from caring.
The level of support an adult with ASD needs (from round-the-clock care to simple adaptations to the home) is decided after social services make an assessment and it is agreed with the person and their carer.
Access in the community
Community support services (or outreach services) help adults with ASD get out and about in their local area. They provide advice, support, social skills training and social or leisure opportunities.
For example, they may help people with ASD to get to the local gym for a couple of hours a week, to keep fit and healthy.
Find autism support services in your area.