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Luton Borough Council

Adults with autism


Support and advice for people on the autistic spectrum and their carers

‘Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.’
From: What is autism? National Autistic Society
In many cases autism remains a hidden disability.
Too many people with autism are still experiencing problems in managing their everyday affairs and are finding it difficult to access appropriate services and support. They are missing out on the quality of life that others enjoy.

What are the signs of autism?

  • people with autism have difficulties communicating, difficulties forming relationships with others, and find it hard to make sense of the world around them
  • autism is a ‘spectrum disorder’ which means it varies in severity and impact from individual to individual. Some people will be able to live fairly independently, others may have severe learning disabilities
  • people with autism may have problems processing their senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and colour or light vision. They may also have a narrow range of specialist interests and engage in repetitive behaviour
  • some of these problems may result in complex behaviour and behaviour which challenges services
  • some people with autism need specialist support and care

Who does autism affect?

  • autism was first identified more than 50 years ago. It affects half a million people in the UK –  tens of millions worldwide – and is one of the most common developmental disorders
  • boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls
  • autism affects people of all racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds

Where do I go for help?

Contact us:

Anyone who has been diagnosed with autism, or is suspected to be on the autistic scale can request an assessment of care needs. We will look at your situation and work with you to find the right services for you.

If you are a carer of someone with autism you can have your own carer’s assessment to identify help available to you.

You can request an assessment of care needs, or a carer’s assessment, by contacting our Customer Services Centre on the numbers below.

Other local organisations:
Autism Bedfordshire has a helpline (01234 350704) providing support and information for people on the autistic spectrum and for their carers. They also organise social groups.
POhWER provides ‘advocacy’ services in Luton – helping people with autism to get their point of view across and to be understood.

Luton’s strategy for helping people with autism

Together with NHS Luton we have developed a strategy that sets out how we are going to work towards the national autism strategy – which looks forward to a time when people on the autistic spectrum have access to the treatment, care and support they need; when health and social care staff, amongst others in the public sector, are well-informed; and mainstream public services treat them fairly as individuals.

You can read out strategy by downloading it from the bottom of this page.
Please tell us what you think.

Autism Partnership Board – tell us what you think

We want to hear your views about how we can improve local services for people with autism.
The Autism Partnership Board meets regularly to discuss development of strategy and services across Bedfordshire. If you are on the autistic spectrum, or if you are a carer, we would like to you to come along to a meeting and give your views.
If you would like to attend, or for more information please email [email protected] or call 01582 547778
The national Adult Autism update (Think Autism) was published in 2014. Public Health England has now issued a third exercise to evaluate the progress made since the first national Autism Strategy published in 2010. Each local area was asked to submit a self-assessment in March 2015. 


The self-evaluation form for Luton is attached as Appendix 1. This is based on the work carried out on the by the cross-Bedfordshire Autism Partnership Board to implement the Luton (and Bedfordshire) Autism Strategies. As the self-evaluation covers the whole range of services for people with Autism it asks questions on employment, housing, criminal justice services and other areas as well as health and social care. The form asks for responses to some questions as a “RAG” rating (red, amber and green). In summary the self-evaluation responses are:

Red Amber Amber/green Green
Number of responses 0 1 7 13
There has been good progress in supporting individuals with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) in Luton since the last SAF. The key issues around ongoing Autism support and the development of the updated Autism strategy in Luton for 2015 are as follows: 
  • training –whilst awareness and general training has been successful there is an ongoing requirement to provide Autism training under the Care Act. Public Sector organisations are required to provide Autism Awareness training as part of an induction for new staff and this is a piece of work that LBC still needs to fully embrace. There is also a need to continue Autism Awareness and specialist training as part of the corporate training programme and ensure that health professionals in mainstream and mental health services also receive appropriate training and can make reasonable adjustments to support individuals with ASCs
  • better recording around diagnosis and  mental health needs
  • an analysis of unmet need for those with ASCs, including the needs of older people with Autism
  • the new Luton Borough Council housing strategy needs to specifically identify the needs of individuals with ASCs
  • work with East London Foundation Trust to ensure that the diagnosis service is fit for purpose and that there is appropriate access to psychology, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy


Contact info
Customer Services Centre
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 547659 or 547660

[email protected]


© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ