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.
In June 2021, we added new recommendations on interventions for feeding problems, including restricted diets to highlight the need for assessment and referral for children and young people. For more information, see the update decision.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- general principles of care
- families and carers
- specific interventions for the core features of autism
- interventions for behaviour that challenges
- life skills and coexisting problems
- interventions for autism that should not be used
- transition to adult services
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 checked this guideline in June 2021 and found no new evidence that affects the recommendations. We are monitoring important initiatives in progress that may affect future service delivery. We will regularly review their potential impact on our autism guidelines.
Guideline development process
This guideline was previously called autism: the management and support of children and young people on the autism spectrum.
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services 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 complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.