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Support for adults with autism

Find out how to get a diagnosis for autism and what help and support is available in Bath and North East Somerset for adults with autism.

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. Autistic people may find it hard to communicate and interact with others, and to understand how other people think or feel. They may find bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable. They may also get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events, take longer to understand information, do or think the same things over and over. The National Autistic Society explains what autism is in more detail.

How to access support

To be diagnosed with autism, make an appointment with your doctor and ask to be referred to the BASS Autism Service for Adults who cover Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North Somerset. 

As well as diagnosing autism, BASS also offer the following support:

  • Assess and diagnose you if referred by your GP
  • Run advice services with groups on mindfulness, stress management, social cognition and interaction
  • Offer one to one sessions with staff
  • Offer social prescribing to help individuals with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) to link with the community and access social opportunities
  • Offer social support assessments for people accessing our post diagnostic services
  • Offer post-diagnostic support
  • Train in Asperger syndrome and ASC ranging from one hour awareness sessions to a full days training
  • Support colleagues in mental health services to work with individuals with ASC

Going to the doctor

If you find visiting the doctor difficult, there are some things you can do to make it a bit easier, and to make sure you get good care from them.

Going to the doctor
  • Tell your doctor what you need and how they can help you (for example, easy information about your health, more time for your appointment, somewhere quiet to wait, or to see the same doctor).
  • Ask your doctor to put something on their computer to say you have autism
  • Tell your doctor if you do not understand what they say (ask them to say it again or use easier words)
  • Take some information with you to the doctor, for example, a hospital passport (this is a small book that tells doctors and nurses what you need - make it yourself, or use the one on this website)
  • If you are worried about seeing a new doctor, ask to visit the doctor’s surgery first to see what it is like
  • A key named contact person who will navigate the system for you (this may be a receptionist, administrator or nurse)
  • Alternative ways of booking appointments such as, online
  • Accessible information in a format you understand about how and when appointments are available, how to get prescriptions or access services
  • If you need to go to hospital, make sure the doctor tells the hospital what you need

If you look after someone else who needs support, tell your doctor this as well and they can put something on their computer to say you are a carer.

Other help

Health passport

Get a health passport to help you communicate your needs to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

Alert cards

Get a NAS autism alert card so you can let other people know you are autistic and you may need some extra time or help in certain situations.

You can also download alert cards for travelling on the bus. FirstBus service have produced some alert cards called Extra help cards. Show the card to the bus driver so they are aware that you need a bit of extra help.

Autism Spectrum Conditions Case Management Service

The service is for adults who have been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), including Aspergers Syndrome. We will support you to complete an assessment of your health and social care needs, provide advice and guidance on issues such as benefits, housing, employment, education and training, as well as help you to set up personal budgets.

National Autism Society (NAS)

Visit the NAS website to find out more about autism and what the NAS do to help adults with autism in education, in work or more about diagnostic services. 

The National Autistic Society’s Avon Branch also provides support, information and advice to autistic adults (including those who have Asperger syndrome) and to parents or carers living and working in the Avon area of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BANES and some of North Somerset. Professionals can also get in contact.