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Next Steps in housing research with people with learning disabilities

Decades ago, it was agreed that people with autism and/or learning disabilities should move out of institutions and into the community. The policy aimed for ‘ordinary lives’, and for people to have some choice and control over where to live and how to be supported. We consider six recent studies that explore with people in different living situations how these aims are succeeding in practice. We synthesise the studies’ findings, identifying common themes and concerns, comparing methods and recognising research gaps. The synthesis provides the basis for deliberation by stakeholders from the six studies  – people with learning disabilities, family carers, support staff and support providers, and organisations involved in advocacy and housing. The project addresses ethical and practical questions collaboratively, in a field where reform is pending. Using active methods of consultation and accessible forms of communication, we seek to generate ideas and priorities for future research and for change. The recommendations developed on this basis are available on this page. We present documents for the use of people with autism and/or learning disabilities, organisations involved in housing and social care, and policy makers, aiming to provide a basis for ‘next steps’ in the field.


The Next Steps project aims

  • To produce a synthesis of 6 partner studies concerning home lives and support for autistic people and people with learning disabilities.
  • To use this synthesis as the basis for generating recommendations and guidelines, by organising online and in-persons events to draw on the experience and practice-based knowledge of the studies’ co-researchers and advisory group members
  • To disseminate the synthesis findings and recommendations through a dedicated website.

These outputs will inform planning for future research, and provide a rich resource for policy and practice development.

Our Partners


NIHR School for Social Care Research

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Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Southampton

University of Southampton

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust logo

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust


University of Hertfordshire

University of York

University of York

University of Birmingham logo

University of Birmingham