Improving health and wellbeing for autistic adults

Autism research in the adult space has been a long-neglected field, particularly in health and healthcare, despite clear health disparities between autistic and non-autistic people. Autistic adults experience gaps in healthcare provision and numerous barriers to accessing healthcare. Additionally, health professionals are also often under skilled, have low autism knowledge and low confidence when working with this cohort.

This body of work consisted of multiple projects that together worked to understand and improve autistic adults’ access to healthcare.

This revealed that autistic adults face significant barriers to accessing healthcare, and the healthcare professionals also face difficulties in understanding how best to work with autistic adults.

Further, this program worked to improve the health of autistic adults through improving access and directly through selected projects to improve aspects of health and well-being.

This program has demonstrated that there are several significant areas that require further research and development and has laid the groundwork for future projects to build on. 

This was an ongoing program of research with the long term aims:

(a) To identify autism specific variables, with respect to the health concerns of autistic adults and their health care providers

(b) To compare the data on these variables with a matched control group, in order to discriminate the unique autistic profile from the profile of the general population

(c) To develop an integrated and interactive suite of interventions ‘AWell’ using validated strategies, targeting identified health issues in middle aged/older autistic adults

(d) To implement and evaluate the ‘AWell’ trialling it with healthcare providers.

Project code
Project Leader(s)
  • Nicholas Lennox, The University of Queensland
Project status