Public consultation announced on updated Autism Strategy

Date published: 14 December 2022

The Department of Health has announced a public consultation to inform an updated Autism Strategy to be published in the spring.

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We want to know more about what life is like for autistic people, their families and carers, to get a better idea of what support you receive, and how support could be improved.

Your views and experiences will then help us to develop our work on the 2023-2028 Autism Strategy.

Peter May, Department of Health Permanent Secretary, said: “We recognise that autistic people, their families and carers, can only be supported if they are involved and have an opportunity to influence the work that we do.

“It is important that anyone who has lived experience of autism, cares for or provides support to an autistic person or has an autistic relative, remains central to the discussion about what needs to change or improve.

“Therefore, we invite you to complete this consultation, and make your views known.”

The consultation, which runs from 14 December 2022 until 8 March 2023, seeks to obtain views from interested parties on:

•             Waiting lists for autism assessments;

•             Access to adult autism services;

•             Emotional and/or mental health support services;

•             Respite services for carers;

•             Experiences of managing change;

•             Education;

•             Careers advice for autistic people;

•             Accessing employment;

•             Accessing housing;

Further information on the consultation can be found online -  

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Autism Act (NI) 2011 places a legislative responsibility on the Department of Health to prepare a cross-departmental autism strategy every seven years.
  2. The previous autism strategy ended in 2020, and while preparations had been underway to develop its successor in 2021, work was constrained due to Covid-19.
  3. An interim strategy was then published by the then Health Minister Robin Swann for the years 2021-2022.
  4. Last year, the Department launched a public questionnaire to provide an opportunity for autistic people, their families and carers, and also the services and organisations which provide support, to tell us what the priorities for this strategy needed to be. A summary of those responses can be found at
  5. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  6. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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