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Late diagnosis of adults with autism leaves them hidden at home and at high risk of mental illness

Late diagnosis of adults with autism - which affects four times as many men as it does women - leaves them hidden at home and at high risk of mental illness.

Adults with a late diagnosis of autism are not getting the support they need from government agencies and so are left hidden at home with their parents. As a result, over half of adults experience depression, a further 11% a nervous breakdown and 8% were left feeling suicidal.

These are the shocking new findings of a survey conducted by The National Autistic Society (NAS). The report, entitled 'Ignored or Ineligible? The reality for adults with autism spectrum disorders', shows people with autism and their families are currently excluded from employment and social activities.

The overall picture shows funding for people with autism* is constantly falling between gaps in the statutory services and as a result they are excluded from the care system.

Vernon Beauchamp, Chief Executive of the NAS said:

"The NAS report highlights that adults with autism are not getting the support and services they need and deserve. We need the Government to take action on our findings and for the issues facing these adults to be addressed."

A person with Asperger Syndrome* said:

"I always feel lonely, sad and depressed. Sometimes I wish I was dead. I have no confidence in myself. I have been told I am always looking for sympathy and trying to make my family feel guilty."

A parent of a person with autism said: 

"Social Services, employment and medical bodies have failed and are still failing my son. Because my son is borderline, Social Services say he will always have to fight for any service due to his vulnerability and for not being obviously disabled and needing care and support."

More information

Information for healthcare professionals is available at The National Autistic Society's information centre by telephoning 020 7903 3599

Helpline for patients and their carers: 0870 600 8585

* Autism (including Asperger syndrome) is a lifelong developmental disability. It is a spectrum disorder occurring in varying degrees of severity and affects more than an estimated 500,000 people in the UK. It is characterised by a triad of impairments which involve difficulties forming social relationships, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and a lack of imagination.

Page created on May 14th, 2001

Page updated on December 1st, 2009