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Creating accessible healthcare environments for people with autism

Staff can use a simple environmental checklist to help make healthcare environments more accessible to people with autism. An article from Stephen Simpson, senior autism practitioner, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

male nurse smiling at a patient

About this work

Over 1% of the UK population has a diagnosis of autism and, of this group, half will also have a learning disability.

Studies show that people with autism die 12 years earlier than the general population and one reason is poor access to health services.

Many people with autism have sensory issues that can affect how they access healthcare so staff need to consider the physical environments in which care is delivered to ensure they are accessible to people with autism.

This article describes a checklist that can be used by nurses and other health professionals to make healthcare environments more autism friendly.


It is estimated that 1.1% of the UK population has a diagnosis of autism and half of these will also have a learning disability (Brugha et al, 2012).

However, autism itself is not a learning disability and many people with autism have average or above-average intelligence; some will have a diagnosis of high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome, which identifies this.

You can read the full article here: https://www.nursingtimes.net/roles/hospital-nurses/creating-accessible-healthcare-environments-for-people-with-autism-03-12-2019/

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