The National Autistic Taskforce was established in January 2018 to give autistic adults a stronger voice in the decisions and directions of our own lives – especially those with highest support needs and, often, least autonomy. We draw on deep knowledge of rights and obligations, already enshrined in law but not reliably respected in practice, to increase autonomy in autistic lives. We seek to ensure autistic voices are included alongside those of families, policy makers and professionals. We seek to draw on the collective knowledge and experience of autistic adults to inform and improve care and support, especially for autistic adults whose own voices are rarely heard.
The National Autistic Taskforce is an innovative new body that aims to improve the chances for autistic people to have control over their own lives. It will look to challenge government and local communities to deliver the support, services and opportunities that autistic people are entitled to.
Why has the National Autistic Taskforce been established?
Over the past two decades, a number of new laws, policies and guidelines have been introduced to give autistic people more personal autonomy and choice. But autistic people and their families and carers know that too often the reality does not match the rhetoric. Many of the gaps in provision were highlighted in The Autism Dividend, a comprehensive study of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of autism interventions, undertaken by the National Autism Project and published in January 2017.
The report found that government policy, support and services are often not based on sufficient evidence, that research to find out what services work best is underfunded, and that decision makers often do not understand that providing better services could help save money. The report has been shared widely and formed the basis of a number of meetings and discussions with policy makers and research funders through 2017.
Critical to the success of the National Autism Project has been an advisory panel of autistic people who provided expert input and critique throughout.
To help build on the momentum of this positive experience, the National Autistic Taskforce has been established to enable the voices and knowledge of autistic people to continue to impact national policy and local delivery.