Understanding the link between autism and homelessness
We've contributed to research into this important area
It's important that we do more to understand the issues they face, especially women. This is why we've contributed to Women's Health Journal research - so that more support can ultimately be put in place.
The research involved speaking to autistic women with experience of homelessness, health professionals, support services like Porchlight and more. It found that:
- Many autistic women experiencing homelessness don't have a clinical diagnosis, but recommending that someone gets an assessment must be handled sensitively.
- Women experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of violence and exploitation than men, and these risks may be enhanced for women with autism.
- Environmental factors can lead to autistic individuals experiencing sensory overload and burnout. In turn, this can lead to them losing trust in support services.
- Support spaces are not often built with autism in mind. To feel safe, people experiencing autism need to be somewhere where noise, light, temperature and smell (etc) can be controlled.
- The more that's done to educate support staff about autism, the more that can be done to help people.
The report recognises that more work must be done to develop homelessness support for people who experience autism. But this is an important step towards ensuring that everyone is getting the help they need towards a brighter future.