This guideline covers diagnosing and managing suspected or confirmed autism spectrum disorder (autism, Asperger’s syndrome and atypical autism) in people aged 18 and over. It aims to improve access and engagement with interventions and services, and the experience of care, for people with autism.

In August 2016, 2 research recommendations were removed from this guideline.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Health and social care professionals (including those in the independent sector)
  • Commissioners and providers
  • Adults with autism and their families, partners and carers 

Is this guideline up to date?

We reviewed the evidence in July 2016. We found nothing new that affects the recommendations in this guideline.

Next review: 2020 

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline was previously called autism: recognition, referral, diagnosis and management of adults on the autism spectrum.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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