Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopment condition which affects how people interact with the world. There are around 700,000 people in the UK with a diagnosis of autism. But many cases have not yet been diagnosed or even discovered. Autism is a spectrum characterised by a broad set of conditions - including challenges with socialising, repetitive behaviour, sensory issues and speech difficulties. Autistic people often display great attention to detail, strong focus skills, creativity, and visual learning skills.
Autistic individuals have varying support needs, some require full-time care support. We focus on those with less obvious support needs. Their perceived ableness leaves them grossly underserved by public and healthcare services. In addition, outdated stereotypes and misleading media depictions leave many individuals feeling isolated and misunderstood.
Young adults are faced with many changes and the challenge of forming their identity within social groups. There is an increasing sense of otherness and anxiety at this age. Most don't feel prepared for adulthood - they are 10x times more likely to drop out of university; and shockingly only 22% of autistic individuals are in full-time employment.
Autism is a spectrum characterised by a broad set of conditions - including challenges with socialising, repetitive behaviour, sensory issues and speech difficulties. Autistic people often display great attention to detail, strong focus skills, creativity, and visual learning skills.
In our research, we connected with various support groups, collected 66 survey responses, and conducted 30+ interviews from various stakeholders across the service ecosystem, building an understanding of their needs.
We ran workshops to ideate and validate our prototypes as we progressed. The impact on design was an understanding of the need for a flexible and tailored support service that was accessible through an individual's journey.
Our programmes are designed to support individuals in tackling both internal and external pressures of becoming adults. We offer our service to young autistic adults between 15-18 and 18-25 age range.
For individuals we provide the autonomy and flexibility to curate their support needs. We empower and build confidence in individuals' unique skills and interests, while providing safe spaces to explore challenges.
Partnering organisations can pledge company staff to become mentors, joining the mentor network. This is both a space to share knowledge and inspire future generations and a place to better understand Autism. This understanding feeds back into their organisations, communities and families.
Reducing drop-out rates, burnouts and improving employment means less pressure on healthcare, social services and government budgets. Improved understanding and advocacy means less stigmatisation and social isolation.