Falling Through the Cracks: Why is the Outcome so Poor for Adults with Autism?

conference flyerA national conference organised by Research Autism

Keynote Speaker: Rt. Hon David Cameron, MP, Leader of the Opposition

Date and time: Thursday 16th July 2009 - from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm

Venue: Church House Conference Centre, Assembly Hall, Dean's Yard, Westminster SW1P 3NZ



Video Highlights of the conference



The aims of the conference are to explore why the outcomes are so poor for adults with autism in the UK and to identify appropriate solutions to this problem.

The conference will take place following the release of The National Audit Office (NAO) report which was commissioned to explore the problems and challenges of supporting adults with autism.

The aim of that report was to assess current service provision in areas including: health, social care, education, benefits and employment support. It identified how these areas could be made more effective, efficient and appropriate to the needs of adults with autism and their carers.

The specific aims of this conference are to:

  • Provide an introduction to the issues from David Cameron
  • Update delegates on progress on the Autism Bill
  • Promote and explain the findings of the National Audit Office report into autism
  • Provide a personal view of autism from the perspective of an adult on the spectrum
  • State what is currently known about the numbers and needs of adults with autism in the UK
  • Compare the position of adults with autism with the position of adults with learning disabilities within the UK
  • Highlight the importance of identifying more accurately the number and needs of adults with autism spectrum disorders in the UK
  • Identify action points that delegates and others can undertake


This conference will appeal to a wide variety of audiences including:

  • Politicians and civil servants e.g. ministers and shadow ministers
  • Senior staff in the health and social care sectors
  • Senior staff in the independent sector e.g. private and voluntary service providers
  • Journalists and other media representatives
  • Individuals with autism spectrum disorders

In order to ensure a representative balance from these different groups, we will aim at reserving a set number of places for each group.


Autism is a developmental condition arising out of brain differences affecting over 500,000 children and adults in the UK. The symptoms of autism vary considerably but always affect instinctive social behaviour and communication. This can lead to severe stress, isolation and a failure to achieve academic and other potential. The causes of autism are not known. Genetic factors are important. There are a host of treatments and other interventions but very few have been evaluated and even fewer are effective.

Research Autism

Research Autism is the only research charity with a sole focus on interventions in autism. We were established as an independent charity with the support of the National Autistic Society to address concerns of its members about the dearth of high quality scientific research in this area. With Cambridge University as our research sponsor, we have enlisted some of the most eminent figures from the world of autism to work with us; they give of their time for free. Our web based information service, through which we disseminate research findings, attracts over 25,000 visitors a month, demonstrating the demand for impartial information on the effectiveness of autism treatments.

Research projects

Research Autism is committed to a programme of research that will improve quality of life and support social inclusion. Projects under development or underway include:

  • Sleep problems in autism
  • Behavioural difficulties in autism
  • Prevalence of autism in specific populations- e.g. criminal justice
  • Evaluation of a number of specific treatment interventions and approaches for children
  • Evaluation of employment and mentoring schemes for adults
  • Establishment of collaborative research forums and networks

The findings of these projects will make a significant difference to our understanding of the scale and nature of the issues, and what needs to be done to make social inclusion a reality for those affected by autism.


  • Geoffrey Maddrell, Chairman, Research Autism
  • Rt Hon. David Cameron MP, Leader of the Opposition
  • Joe Powell, Expert by Experience
  • Mark Davies, National Audit Office
  • Professor Patricai Howlin, Institute of Psychiatry
  • Professor Terry Brugha, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust
  • Rt Hon. Phil Hope MP, Minister of State for Care Services


logo We are extremely grateful to the Peter Cruddas Foundation, registered charity number 1117323, which kindly sponsored this event.




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