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Autistic Health: Improving Access to Healthcare

Learn how to improve quality of life for autistic people and overcome the barriers they face in accessing healthcare.

Health professional talking to autistic patient in waiting room
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 3 of 4
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Learn more about the physical and mental health of autistic people

On this four-week course, you’ll learn about the many co-existing conditions that are common in autistic people. You’ll explore how these interact with autistic differences and what impact they have on physical and mental wellbeing.

You’ll also examine the interconnection between autistic experiences and mental health, and learn how masking and trauma affect access to healthcare.

Understand the role of intersectionality in autistic wellbeing

As you delve into different areas of intersectionality, you’ll learn more about the multi-faceted discrimination often experienced by autistic people.

You’ll also develop your knowledge of the many barriers autistic people face when trying to access healthcare. You’ll hear about the importance of taking a more holistic view of autistic wellbeing, which goes beyond physical and mental health to consider all aspects of a person’s life.

Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll reflect on potential ways of improving access to healthcare and quality of life for autistic people.

Learn from experts at the University of Kent

Over the four weeks, your learning will be guided by autistic and non-autistic academics at the University of Kent, who’ll share their expertise on the experience of autistic people in the healthcare system.

By the end of the course, you’ll have gained an understanding of the barriers autistic people face in accessing healthcare, and the skills you need to help improve their quality of life.


  • Week 1

    Physical health

    • Introduction to physical health issues

      An introduction to autism and physical health. Image: CC BY 2.0, S.Snodgrass https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevensnodgrass/

    • Case studies in autism and physical health

      In this activity we present two case studies: Blue and Jeremy.

    • Support for physical health

      In this activity we consider approaches to supporting autistic people with co-occuring conditions

  • Week 2

    Mental health

    • Autistic mental health

      In this section we focus on autistic mental health difficulties including masking and trauma. Image: MissLunaRose12, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    • Mental health and intersectionality case studies

      In this section we consider some case studies about autistic people who are multiply marginalised and have poor mental health

    • Intersectionality

      This section considers the different ways people may be multiply marginalised. Image: Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team from Germany, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commo

  • Week 3

    Barriers to healthcare

    • What barriers do autistic people face?

      Here we examine potetnial barriers faced by autistic people. Image: Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    • Exploring barriers to healthcare

      In this activity we look in more detail at barriers to healthcare. Image by Matthew Paul Argall, https://www.flickr.com/photos/79157069@N03/, CC BY 2.0

    • Responding to healthcare barriers

      How do stakeholders respond to healthcare barriers? Image by Odolphie from Frome, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Week 4

    Well-being and quality of life

    • The quality of life of autistic people

      This section introduces the concept of quality of life and explores how we might understand this in autistic contexts. Image by Nestlé, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nestle/, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    • Assessing autistic quality of life

      In this section we consider how to measure autistic quality of life

    • Autistic joy

      In this section we consider the concept of Autistic Joy

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe how different co-occurring conditions interact with autistic differences and the impact this has on wellbeing
  • Discuss autistic mental health and how masking and trauma affect access to healthcare
  • Develop your knowledge of the barriers to healthcare for autistic people
  • Explain why it is important to consider a holistic view of autistic well-being that goes beyond physical and mental health.
  • Explore the role different types of intersectionality may play in access to healthcare
  • Contribute to improving healthcare accessibility for autistic people to create a better quality of life

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in improving access to healthcare for autistic people.

It will be particularly valuable for autistic people, their family members, or professionals working in health or social care.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

About this ExpertTrack

Increase your understanding of autistic people through an exploration of autistic experiences in key areas.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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