Autism is a developmental disability that affects around 1% of the population. It can affect social interaction, communication and language, and social imagination.

  • Autism is often referred to as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
  • the word 'spectrum' is used because people with autism share certain difficulties but their condition will affect them in different ways
  • some people with autism live independently whilst others require a lifetime of specialist support. Some, but not all people with autism also have a learning disability
  • Asperger syndrome is a 'spectrum' condition; people with this condition often have average or above average intelligence and fewer problems with speech. They may still have difficulties understanding or processing language.

York’s Autism Strategy

York's All Age Autism Strategy 2017-21 aims to improve support and services for adults with autism and lists 5 priority areas. The Strategy Group meets quarterly and is a partnership of people from a range of agencies and groups who are working to bring about improvements. For more information, contact the Adults Commissioning and Contracts Team on tel: 01904 554661 or

Social Care

Adult Social Services can provide advice and support to help you remain independent and make realistic choices about the support you need. A community support assessment of need will assess your needs and eligibility. There is no charge for the assessment, but you may be asked to make a contribution towards any support that is arranged. Carers can request a carer’s assessment to find out about your caring situation and how you could be supported.


Some people show features of Autistic Spectrum Disorder as a child, but enter adulthood without a diagnosis. The first step is to talk to your GP; they can refer you for diagnosis and support from secondary mental health services. These services are provided in York by the Leeds & York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust. Contact the Single Point of Access team on tel: 01904 722303 or 722304.


If you attend an appointment at Job Centre Plus, Disability Employment Advisers can provide advice and support to help you find work.

The Access to Work scheme can help you find a job or provide appropriate support if you already have a job. If you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition, Access to Work can provide practical and financial support to help you overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job.

For more information, see Access to work or telephone: 0345 268 8489.


Individual universities and colleges in York have Support Officers on site, and it is worth checking their websites for up to date details on local open days and opportunities to meet with student support services.

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) for Higher Education students

If you have a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition such as Asperger's Syndrome, you may be entitled to extra help to make sure these difficulties do not impact your studies.

When you have an offer of a place at university or college, contact Student Finance England to find out about applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance funding. Once your eligibility for DSA is confirmed, you will need to contact an assessment centre. The Higher York Access Centre is based at York St John University and can be used by anyone with an offer for a Higher Education place at any institution in the UK.

Contact details for other Higher Education institutions in York:

For all Higher Education courses in York, see the Higher York website.

Access to Sport and Leisure Activities

Our Sport and Active Leisure team provides support for people with disabilities who wish to take part in sport and active leisure activities.

Contact the team on tel: 01904 553377 or visit Disability, inclusive sport and physical activity.

Also see

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