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Background to the research

The AUDIT-50 project is supported by Dunhill Medical Trust and aims to investigate the needs and characteristics of autistic older adults.

About 240,000 UK adults aged 50 and over have autism. They often lead difficult lives, including living with mental and physical health problems. Currently, services are not well designed to support them.
Improvements are held back by limited understanding of their circumstances and needs. This three-year project aims to fill important gaps in knowledge about autism in later life. We hope it will
help improve care, increase professionals’ knowledge, and inspire more research.

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This project will investigate three key areas:
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1. Diagnosis of

autism in older people

How often is autism

among people aged 50 and over undiagnosed? Are women, poorer people and those from minority ethnic groups less likely to be diagnosed?

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2. Physical and mental health needs and healthcare

How common are mental and physical health problems in older people diagnosed with autism? Are older autistic people less likely to receive high-quality healthcare?

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3. Mental health of older autistic people without a diagnosis

What are the needs of the many older autistic people who don’t have a diagnosis?

In addition to this, how exactly do these needs arise?

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