Autism – Interim Strategy 2021-2022

Date published: 08 March 2021

Last updated: 14 November 2022

The Autism Act (NI) 2011 places a statutory responsibility on the Department of Health to publish an autism strategy every seven years.   The first Autism Strategy 2013-2020 was published in January 2014 and since then considerable progress has been made in developing improved support and an increased understanding of the needs of autistic people, their families and carers.


Since implementation of the previous strategy, a range of data is collated to provide a comprehensive picture of the position on referral for autism assessment and diagnosis and these can viewed at the link below.

Autism statistics

Whilst the development of a fully co-produced autism strategy for implementation in 2021 was significantly constrained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister for Health has approved the publication of an interim autism strategy setting out key priorities for implementation, throughout 2021 and 2022, with the focused aim of improving support for autistic people, their families and carers, and those who may be waiting assessment, through collaborative working with all government departments, the health and social care sector and voluntary and community organisations. Key priorities highlighted within the interim strategy are underpinned by a series of outcome-based, cross-departmental actions with associated target dates. These actions will be collated into an Action Framework which will be used to monitor implementation across government departments.

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