A quick guide for young people and their families
More than 1 in 100 people are autistic. This affects people in different ways. It can bring strengths but also some challenges that can impact on how comfortable, healthy and happy you feel. Getting the right diagnosis and support is important.
This guide is for young people, who are of secondary school age, and their families or adults with parental responsibility.
I was so relieved when I got my diagnosis, it felt like recognitionFran, a person with autism
Why have I been offered an assessment for autism?
You might be offered an assessment if you or people in your life think that you may have some
of the signs of autism. These signs may include:
- finding it difficult talking to and being with other people
- having unusual or intense interests
- finding some situations and experiences difficult to cope with
- sometimes finding noise, touch, taste and texture, lights or smells difficult to deal with
- strongly preferring your usual routine
- developing more easily in some areas than others.
Having an assessment means you can talk about these things and find out possible reasons for them.
You may want to discuss what you find difficult more informally with someone before having an assessment, to help you decide if now is the right time for you.
You may also find it helpful to talk about this with your school, doctor or social worker, if you have one.
Information and support
If you are autistic, you should be offered a named key-worker who will help you to develop a personalised plan which focuses on your strengths. You and your family should also be given information about other support in your local area. This might include:
Support groups that you or your family could contact that can help you to meet other autistic young people, or learn more about what autism is.
Activities that can help in your day-to-day life (e.g. improving social skills, leisure activities or supporting your learning at school).
Help to prepare for the future so you can still do the things you choose.
Where to get advice about money and benefits.
- Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis (CG128) - NICE guideline.
- Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management (CG170) - NICE guideline.
- Autism (QS51) - NICE quality standard.
- National Autistic Society - website offering information and advice about autism, including all about diagnosis.
- Ambitious About Autism - information and support for autistic young people and their families. Includes an online community, shared experiences and stories and opportunities to get involved.
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This content has been co-produced by NICE and SCIE and is based on NICE’s guideline on autistic spectrum disorder in under 19’s: recognition, referral and diagnosis and quality standard on autism.