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We have changed our name! Kids on the Spectrum is now called Living on the Spectrum

Waiting for an autism diagnosis for 15 years.

Admitted to hospital and forgotten about for 15 years. Ryan Clarke was 17 years old when he was first admitted to hospital for self harming. Forgotten about for 15 years while waiting for his autism diagnosis.

Mr Ryan spent the last 5 years in a psychiatric hospital along side patients with criminal convictions.

UK man, Ryan Clarke, now 32, had been in hospital since 2006. He has spent nearly half his life detained in a psychiatric hospital.

“Over the moon” is one of the was his family have described their joy in having Ryan home.

Finally receiving is autism diagnosis at 28.

At 28 years of age Mr Clarke finally received his autism diagnosis. Originally thought to have schizophrenia, Mr Clarke finally received his correct diagnosis. The young man spent 15 years years of life in hospital due to a misdiagnosis. Admitted to hospital for self harming at 17 years of age.

We have to ask, how can this happen?

It is not unusual for misdiagnosis. What is concerning is that it took medical staff 15 years to identify Mr Clark as autistic. It is becoming an all too familiar story, mis-diagnosis and families hitting brick walls when seeking assistance.

Released earlier this month, Mr Clarke was first admitted to hospital in 2006. . Detained and forgotten about. Mr Ryan was a tragic victim of a broken system and a lack of autism awareness. Not an unusual story. Many individuals experience lengthy wait lists while waiting for an autism diagnosis both in the UK and Australia.

Waiting for an autism diagnosis for 17 years
Mr Clarke was 17 when detained in hospital.

How Australia is making change.

The 2010 Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Autism stated by AMAZE stated:

“In education, employment, mental health, life expectancy, social and community life – autistic people consistently have among the worst outcomes compared with other disability and vulnerable population groups. These dire outcomes come at a huge cost to autistic people, their families and the broader Australian community. They require urgent and dedicated action. Importantly, these outcomes are not primarily caused by the ‘disability’ itself, but rather by a lack of an enabling and supportive environment”

The Senate enquiry aimed to Develop and fund a National Autism Strategy co-produced with autistic people. To improve life outcomes, education, employment and support.


UK have high number of autistic individuals in hospital care due to lack of available supports. NHS figures show the number of autistic patients detained in hospital rose from 1,105 to 1,215 between 2015 and 2021.

Carer and support groups in Australia are all working together to make sure incidents like this do not become the norm here. With recent talks about fund cutting to the NDIS, this has a lot of Australian carers on edge. Is this what is to come to Australian autisms supports should respite and carer supports be cut?

Mr Clarke is said to be settling back into life well and is supported by his family. You can read more of Mr Clarke’s story here.

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