One of the most important tasks of recent months has been to  create a list of contacts in government, the civil service, research funding bodies and the media; people whom we hope will be instrumental in taking up the recommendations from our report.  We have been greatly assisted in this by our collaboration with The Bridge, whose inside knowledge, combined with our Strategy Board members’ extensive address books has resulted in a long and impressive list of people we aim to get to over the coming months.  Invitations to meetings both before and after the launch of the report are already being sent out.

Even more urgent was the need to identify a communications organisation to work on our campaign from now until the end of the project in December 2017.  I am grateful to some of our supporters for help in identifying suitable companies to approach, and after interviews at our Strategy Board meeting in April, we are very pleased to have appointed Incisive Health to this vital role.

We continue to accept opportunities to publicise the project even in advance of the report and Ian Ragan has been asked to speak about NAP at the three meetings of The Autism Show (www.autismshow.co. uk) in London, Birmingham and Manchester in June and July.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to excite further interest in NAP.

The publication of the report will coincide with a launch meeting in London on October 25th 2016 in the House of Lords, kindly sponsored by Baroness Julia Neuberger. The intention is to follow this within a week or so with additional launches in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, details of which remain to be worked out.

The announcement of our launch meetings sets us a target and a timeline that will challenge our capabilities but focus our minds over the next few months.

Our collaborators at the London School of Economics and Political Science describe their progress below.

Ian Ragan May 2016

The economic case for interventions for people with autism

Progress report – April 2016

The primary aim of our work within the National Autism Project is to examine the economic case for a range of interventions in the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) area and in pursuit of this we are therefore:

  • reviewing existing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions in the ASD area;
  • reviewing and summarise existing evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions;
  • carrying out new empirical analyses as both the need and opportunity arise; and
  • consulting with experts about research currently underway, in order to understand the relevance and significance of evidence, to explore the relevance of emerging interventions, and to identify some of the parameters needed for our own analyses.

We are now 14 months into our 18 month work programme and to date we have focused on the evidence review and consultations with expert group members. We have identified the most promising, high-impact interventions, and will soon start empirical analysis of the economic case for specific interventions. Over the next four months (May – August 2016) we will complete the evidence review and consultations with individuals from the expert group (and others), and finalise the economic analysis for those interventions for which we have been able to identify sufficient evidence.  We will produce our draft report in August 2016, but we are sharing findings with the Strategy Board as they emerge. The final report will be completed in October.

The team

Martin Knapp and Valentina Iemmi are leading and conducting much of the work, based in the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the LSE. Margaret Perkins (Research Officer in PSSRU), Anna Rupert (Research Assistant and speech and language therapist), and Dylan Watts (volunteer and carer) are currently assisting on the evidence review.

Martin Knapp & Valentina Iemmi
Personal Social Services Research Unit
London School of Economics and Political Science