Our #EverydayEquality campaign set out to highlight the lived experiences of autistic and neurodivergent people in five areas of everyday life: education, health, travel, employment and finance.

Our contributors are all autistic or families with autistic loved ones. They wanted organisations to have a better understanding of difference and to ensure that everyone has equal access to their services.

We heard some inspirational stories about good practice, amazing activists and positive autistic self-identity.

But we also learned some shocking statistics that show there is a way to go before autistic people have equal access to the basics in life such as healthcare, education and jobs.


  • Children with an EHCP are four times more likely to be excluded from school than the average pupil

  • Autistic students are more likely to drop out of university than any other group

We featured the amazing Cambois primary school in Blyth, where one-third of the pupils are autistic and whose motto is “a place where everyone is welcome”. 

Illustrators Jonathan Raiseborough and Lauren Osborne explained how supportive teachers and lecturers helped them achieve their dream careers, while we caught up with 13-year-old Z whose schooling takes place in the forest and circus.

In higher education, we found that autistic students were more likely to drop out, less likely to achieve a first or 2.1 degree, and less likely to get a graduate-level job, than any other group.

We also met the inspirational Lauren Gilbert, who became disability officer at Newcastle University to help other students fight for their own needs. Lauren is continuing to advocate on their Instagram account @lozzagilbert.


  • Almost 17,000 people were on the autism diagnosis waiting lists in the North East, which had more than doubled since the end of 2021.

  • Almost 8 in 10 autistic people experience a mental health problem

NEAS works with the Great North Children’s Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and The James Cook University Hospital, and we caught up with them to find out how they’d made it easier for autistic children on the wards.

We featured an amazing case study of Luke, a young man we supported to get a sight-saving operation at the RVI, and met a unique team of neurodivergent counsellors offering mental health support in Sunderland.

But we also heard about the barriers preventing some autistic people from accessing healthcare, including the lack of reasonable adjustments at GP surgeries, diagnostic overshadowing, and the dearth of mental health support for autistic children.

We also spoke to campaigners fighting to get autistic people out of mental health units, including Beckii Davis and her brother Elliot Dodds whose story became the focal point of a national Autism Alliance campaign.

NEAS itself has helped to provide an alternative for autistic people who would otherwise be sectioned, and we spoke to Myles who is enjoying a home of his own after 42 years on mental health wards.

Public transport

  • The Government has pledged to make all public transport fully accessible for all passengers by 2030

  • Transport operations lose £42million per month ignoring the needs of disabled people, according to Scope

We’re featuring bus, Metro, air travel and driving in the latest part of our campaign.

Newcastle Airport is one of the most accessible in the UK, after a years-long partnership with NEAS, and we tour the airport with an autistic family to explore the adjustments they’ve made.

One autistic man, Sean Watson, explains how the Metro gave him his freedom back after years of self-confinement in and around his home, while another – Graham Dunn – creates a video diary around his struggles using public buses.

We also catch up with an autistic driving instructor, who trains other instructors from all round the country on autism-friendly practices.


  • Digital exclusion affects people with disabilities twice as much as the general population

  • More than half of all high-street bank branches have closed in the North East since 2015

We are talking to high-street banks about how to make services more accessible to neurodivergent people.

Pressure is mounting on banks to better protect customers with vulnerabilities thanks to tough new rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority.

But the obstacles still in the way include problems with telephone and digital banking, unclear communication, and inconsistent approaches to third-party access.

We are launching a survey to canvas the views and experiences of autistic people and their families around banking, which we will use to further consult with banks. If you’re affected, please look out for a link and respond to the survey.


  • Fewer than three in 10 diagnosed autistic people are in paid work, compared with half of all disabled people

  • Doubling the employment rate of autistic people could boost the economy by £1.5billion

 During Autism Acceptance week this year, we’ll be looking at how employers can improve their hiring practices and in-work support.

We’ll also feature new services being launched by our Employment Futures team to support economically inactive people and reduce social exclusion.

What’s next?

For Autism Acceptance Week 2024 we are taking the lead from our amazing Autism Activists group and their film Let Me Be Me.

We want people to look past the label and see the unique individual for who they are. Only then will we move beyond autism awareness to acceptance.

The Autism Activists group of nine to 17-year-olds created the film Let Me Be Me on the theme of human rights, and it has made a big impact already. You can watch it below.

We are promoting our Acceptance toolkits again this year for primary and secondary schools, universities and employers, and are hosting a series of events to celebrate the week. 

We will also continue to advocate for Everyday Equality through an exciting new film project that will take shape over the coming year. Watch this space!

Find out more about the campaign