This website (previously ASDinfoWales) belongs to and is run by the National Autism Team, which is funded by Welsh Government. It is one of the resources which helps the Team achieve their aim to improve the lives of autistic people in Wales.

Cardiff and the Vale forum for autistic adults

Actions and outcomes

The Cardiff and Vale IAS hold 2-hour forums in Cardiff Central Library on the first Monday of every month. The forum aims to provide a place for autistic adults to meet and share experiences, whilst also learn about local services and receive information which might be relevant to them through guest speakers. Some examples of the speakers we have had include, Four Winds (a mental health charity), MIND, Library Services, Innovate (gardening project), Community Care & Wellbeing Service, and Valley & Vale Arts.


Over the past couple of months, the numbers for the Cardiff forum have been increasing and the IAS are currently having approximately 20 people attend each session. Due to the increase in attendees, the IAS reviewed the structure of the forum and decided to make the second hour less formal, thus increasing the opportunity for socialising. The IAS were hopeful that this would increase the numbers of people who felt able to socialise and boost their confidence of socialising in smaller groups of people.


This new format was trialled in March 2020. In the second hour of the forum, the room was split into smaller groups of people. Everyone socialised throughout the entire hour and nobody chose to leave. With slight encouragement from staff, everyone in the room spoke to one another.


Since November 2019, a small number of people (3-4) had been meeting in Costa following the forum (although the offer had been for everyone from a confident attendee). After the March forum, the offer was extended again and over 10 people agreed to go to Costa, including an autistic adult who had very rarely spoken in the forum and never without prompting from staff.


The facilitating staff spoke to a number of attendees in the forum, all of which provided positive feedback about the change of the structure and agreed that it was more relaxed and provided a better opportunity for socialising.

Lessons Learned

The IAS have learned that they need to adapt to the needs of the clients and the increased numbers of attendees in the forums. Although the increase is a positive thing for the service, this may have increased the anxiety levels of those who were not confident enough to speak in front of others in a large group setting. Friendships can be formed if the structure is changed to help facilitate and encourage this.


The IAS will review the structure again after 3 sessions and respond to the feedback gained from speaking to the service users.


Health Board:
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Local Authority:
Integrated Autism Service:
Cardiff and the Vale IAS