notes (if applicable):
|Why this is important:- The Department of Health's autism strategy (2010) proposes the introduction of a range of specialist services for people with autism; these will usually be built around specialist autism teams. However, there is little evidence to guide the establishment and development of these teams. There is uncertainty about the precise nature of the population to be served (all people with autism or only those who have an IQ of 70 or above), the composition of the team, the extent of the team's role (for example, diagnosis and assessment only, a primarily advisory role or a substantial care coordination role), the interventions provided by the team, and the team's role and relationship with regard to non-statutory care providers. Therefore it is likely that in the near future a number of different models will be developed, which are likely to have varying degrees of success in meeting the needs of people with autism. Given the significant expansion of services, this presents an opportunity for a large-scale observational study, which should provide important information on the characteristics of teams associated with positive outcomes for people with autism in terms of access to services and effective coordination of care.