This guideline covers children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (across the full range of intellectual ability) from birth until their 19th birthday. It covers the different ways that health and social care professionals can provide support, treatment and help for children and young people with autism, and their families and carers, from the early years through to their transition into young adult life.

This guideline should be used alongside autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis and autism spectrum disorder in adults: diagnosis and management.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Social care practitioners
  • Children and young people with autism, and their families and carer

Is this guideline up to date?

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

Next review: 2018

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline was previously called autism: the management and support of children and young people 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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