Improving access to social care for adults with autism

The benefits of personalisation for people with autism

[A] request I had, was this man who wanted a car, a man with autism, who was phobic about buses, couldn't go on buses. The mother had her own health problems, dad had very significant ones as well ... He had a brother who had come up from (city) who wanted to take him camping but couldn't do it because there was no transport. And buying a car actually meant that he could travel without taxis, save a thousand of pounds of money in about six months on taxi fares. He had a PA and did go camping several times which was the breaks he had, he could also go to his day activities when he chose to because he was able to get to and from them as he chose to do it - and all those things were covered by buying a car.

Service manager, social services (7)

Personalisation can have a positive impact on the lives of people who use it (53). Coming up with person-centred plans and goals can bring people together, energise them and create a positive environment for people to think about what they want and how to get it (36).

People with autism often have complex and highly individual needs that are hard to accommodate in services delivered to groups of people (31). A diagnosis of autism is arguably only as useful as the personalised, suitable services to which it then leads, and while there is a shortage of really strong evidence about which services work best for people with autism, indications are that specialised and individualised services achieve better outcomes (6). Some people with autism require flexible services completely tailored to them as individuals for their needs to be met effectively. Large, shared residential homes can be inappropriate for people who have complex social, communication and sensory needs (30), and people with autism require, therefore, a wider range of personalised housing options.

Giving people with autism and their support network choices over who supports them creates an opportunity to get exactly the right person for the job, including perhaps a family member or a friend, who knows the person really well.