Break-through eating disorder service accredited by the National Autistic Society

Leading national charity gives specialist eating disorder services the vote of approval this Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Break-through eating disorder service accredited by the National Autistic Society

A groundbreaking service for young autistic people with an eating disorder has been accredited by the National Autistic Society.

Autistic people are much more likely than neurotypical people to develop an eating disorder – between a quarter and a third of people with an eating disorder are autistic. And autistic people are much more likely to have poorer health outcomes and experiences.

Now the life-changing BOB PEACE service, the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire Pathway for Eating disorders and Autism developed from Clinical Experience, has been accredited by the National Autistic Society (NAS), alongside Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) eating disorder services in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

It means the eating disorder services have been recognised as supporting and caring for autistic people in a way which supports and respects their individual autistic needs and follows a period of evaluation and assessment in late 2023.


The PEACE team works directly with CAMHS professionals to promote awareness and tailored support for autistic and possibly autistic youngsters with eating disorders under CAMHS care. They also work directly with a small number of children and young people and families.

PEACE has been developed in partnership with local autistic young people who have experienced an eating disorder, plus their families, carers and mental health professionals and is guided by the latest research.

The PEACE team is already working with mental health professionals to raise awareness and support earlier identification of co-occurring eating disorders and autism. The service also supports teams to make reasonable adjustments to communication and treatment. Many young people are already benefitting from a better experience of care and improved outcomes. The service is guided by the latest research, the expertise within teams and the voices of people with lived experiences.

Dr Rob Bale, Consultant Psychiatrist and Managing Director of Mental Health and Learning Disability at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Making sure our eating disorder services recognise and meet the needs of autistic children and young people is key to providing inclusive care which supports people in the way they need.

“The National Autistic Society accreditation has enabled us to review our approach within a recognised framework, identify best practice and put in place steps for continued improvement.

“We know that improving and developing services and support for autistic people is a priority locally and nationally, and will build on this benchmark as we strive to provide and advocate for services and contribute to a community which is inclusive and autistic-affirming.”

Oxford Health’s Clinical Lead for PEACE and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dr Jo Holliday said autistic children and young people and their families have been key to the co-production of the PEACE service and securing the NAS accreditation. She said:

“Accreditation from the National Autistic Society means young autistic people and their families can be confident in the PEACE service’s neuro-affirming approaching to supporting people in the way that works for them and their autistic experience.

“We have worked with the National Autistic Society to improve understanding and promote inclusive treatment for young people with co-existing eating disorders and autism.

“The accreditation has been awarded in recognition of our good practice in supporting autistic young people and they are thrilled to share this success.”

Christine Flintoft-Smith, Head of Autism Accreditation at the National Autistic Society, said:

“The PEACE service should be exceptionally proud of their achievement. The National Autistic Society’s Autism Accreditation programme was launched over 30 years ago and sets extremely high standards, which the PEACE service has worked incredibly hard to meet.”

Autistic people more likely to develop an eating disorder and can have poorer outcomes and experiences.

  • Approximately a third of young people seeking treatment for an eating disorder are autistic.
  • Often mental health difficulties present first and autism is recognised later, especially in girls.
  • Approximately 35% of adults who are admitted to hospital for inpatient care for an eating disorder score highly on screening measures for autism.
  • About 1% of people in the general population are autistic.

About National Autistic Society Accreditation

Autism Accreditation is an autism-specific quality assurance programme. It was set up by the National Autistic Society in 1992 to improve the support available to autistic people in organisations throughout the UK and across the world.

Over 500 organisations in the UK and around the world are now accredited, including: adult services, colleges, inclusion units, local authorities, playgroups, prisons, schools, short break services and more.

To achieve Autism Accreditation, provisions have to meet a standard of excellence and follow a framework for continuous self-examination and development.

Break-through service for autistic youngsters with an eating disorder

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Published: 26 February 2024