Autism (Adults)

Young men with autism at a desk


Autism or Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) is a term used to describe a group of lifelong, neurodevelopmental conditions marked by how a person with autism interacts socially, how they communicate and patterns of restricted, stereotyped or repetitive behaviour they may have. It is a lifelong neurological condition: people are born with it, do not grow out of it and it cannot be cured. It is a spectrum condition which means it presents differently in every autistic person.

While all people with autism share common traits, their condition will affect them in very different ways. People with high functioning autism (previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome) have average or above average intelligence and good language skills. Some may be able to function well in school or in the work place, but still have a hard time socialising. Others may find even daily tasks related to independence challenging.

Each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges and so the ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some individuals are able to live independent lives; others will require support at different times in their life and others a lifetime of specialist support.

Autism is not a learning disability or a mental illness. Autistic people can, however, have additional needs including learning disabilities and health and mental health conditions just like anyone else.

Common signs of autism in adults include:

  • finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling
  • getting very anxious about social situations
  • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own
  • seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to
  • finding it hard to say how you feel
  • taking things very literally – for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like "break a leg"
  • having the same routine every day and getting very anxious if it changes
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough all age autism strategy 2021 – 2026

What is the all age autism strategy?

This five-year (2021-2026) All Age Autism Strategy supports our aim for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be an autism friendly place where children and adults with autism can live full, healthy, and rewarding lives, within a society that accepts and understands them.

Our vision is for both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be recognised as autism friendly places to live, where people with autism of all ages have access to equal opportunities.

Autism friendly services throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are those that are person centred and take into consideration each person’s strengths, talents, and interests; thereby ensuring that all individuals have access to the same support throughout their lifetime.

This includes working together as partners to deliver services in a more inclusive, integrated way that puts the needs of people with autism, and their families first, providing help, support and care informed by an understanding of what matters to each person with autism and their family.

View the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough all age autism strategy 2021 – 2026

Autism Toolkit

The Autism Toolkit

The Autism Toolkit has been created as part of the All Age Autism Strategy Development.

It is a self assessment tool which encourages and supports organisations to become more accessible to children, young people and adults with autism; or other neurodiverse conditions. In doing so, we hope to increase the accessibility of organisations and businesses across Peterborough.  

The Autism Toolkit will also be used across Peterborough City Council (PCC) and NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough when commissioning services and as part of provider contract management.

Please feel free to complete the Autism Toolkit or share with organisations and business across Peterborough. View The complete Autism Toolkit 2021 If you want a copy of the excel spreadsheet please email:

Be included within our Autism Accessible Directory

Organisations who have completed the toolkit and looking to increase neurodiverse accessibility can be included within our Autism Accessible Directory by notifying:

Children's Commissioning (

National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026

Improving the lives of autistic people

The government has published the national strategy for improving the lives of autistic people and their families and carers in England, and an implementation plan.

The strategy builds on and replaces the preceding adult autism strategy, Think Autism, which was published in April 2014. It extends the scope of the strategy to children and young people for the first time.

Further details can be accessed below which includes the strategy, implementation plan and easy read version.

Full details are available on the GOV.UK website

National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 - GOV.UK (

Autism Alert Card

What is an Autism Alert Card?

Feeling self-conscious, worried or concerned when outside the security of your own home? Need something to help you overcome this?

For £5, Autism Anglia offers a credit card-sized Autism Alert Card as a way of boosting confidence and giving peace of mind if encountering emergency situations.

The project was developed in East Anglia in 2007 with the full support of Essex Police and the Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies.  It has since been adopted by the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabularies and the Bedfordshire Police to make it available in West Anglia also.

We use the card when we go out on trips. It has improved our confidence as parents to go out and about more frequently

The card is designed so that an individual’s behaviour or the nature of their condition can be quickly explained when they find themselves in a difficult or emergency situation.  It also means that behind the scenes lots of work is being done to train the Emergency Services so that they understand what they can do to ease interactions they have with someone who has autism, as sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way.


Home For Good: Successful community support for people with a learning disability, a mental health need and autistic people | Care Quality Commission

Community support for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people

Community support for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people can be a complex process. Even more so if people also have a mental health need. Success depends on a concerted effort across multiple agencies working in partnership with the people supported and their families.

However, it can and does work, delivering a good quality of life, often at much lower prices compared to hospital settings. This assertion is supported by a body of policy guidance and literature going back almost three decades.

View the Care Quality Commission report 


Amazing Things Happen

Related Pages

  1. Health (Adults)
  2. Autism (Local Offer)
  3. Learning, work and volunteering (Adults)

External Links

  1. Care Quality Commission Report - Home for Good


  1. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough all age autism strategy 2021 – 2026

Related Services

  1. Living with Autism
  2. Cambian Autism Services
  3. Autism Advisory Teaching Service
  4. Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services (PCVS) Direct Payments Support
  5. The national autistic society Peterborough and district branch


Skip back to top of page