Improving Healthcare for Autistic People

We are improving healthcare for Autistic people

We are improving healthcare for Autistic people

The Challenge

Autistic people have worse physical and mental health than their allistic (non-Autistic) peers. This includes dying between 16 and 30 years early. Deficit narratives of Autism, discrimination towards Autistic people and significant healthcare inaccessibility all contribute to this. It is important to understand Autistic people’s lived experiences and healthcare needs to reduce and reverse health inequalities.

The Method

Dr Aimee Grant, an Autistic academic, in collaboration with researchers at the Centre for Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translational Research, Autistic UK and Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales has been working with Autistic people to understand the differences in Autistic experiences of healthcare, including in relation to pregnancy, pregnancy loss and breastfeeding. Her Wellcome Trust fellowship, Autism from menstruation to menopause will work with Autistic people to understand their everyday lives and reproductive health needs for eight years.

The Impact

  • Dr Grant is a founding member of the Maternity and Autism Research Group, a collaboration of academics and clinicians from the UK with the aim of improving maternity care for Autistic people.

  • Directly informed NHS practice in relation to Autistic people, including the “About me” health passport within the forthcoming NHS Wales Digital App, NHS England training on Autism and Learning Disabilities, and providing bespoke advice to a range of NHS maternity services.

  • Dr Grant and Professor Amy Brown, within the LIFT Research Centre have been awarded over £2.4m of funding from the Wellcome Trust to gain an in-depth understanding of reproductive health needs of Autistic women and other Autistic people who menstruate throughout the life course, in order to improve healthcare.

  • Dr Grant is the co-founder and co-chair of the international Autistic Health Research Network, a collaboration of Autistic clinicians and researchers who aim to improve Autistic health and healthcare through undertaking neurodiversity-affirming research.
  • Provided training to a range of third-sector organisations to improve care provided to Autistic service users, including Sands, Birth Companions and Lactation Consultants GB.
  • Aimee was appointed to the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list in 2023, in the Science and Engineering category.
The text reads United Nations Sustainable Development Themes
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 Good Health and Well-Being
Text reads Swansea University Research Themes
Health Innovation