Australians are being encouraged to make their steps count during May to help raise understanding for people with autism who have mental health issues.

Thousands of Australians are gearing up to walk 7k steps a day in May in Aspect’s annual ‘Walk for autism’ fundraising campaign. Now in its ninth year and it has raised more than $7.7 million since inception, to support the estimated one in 40 Australians on the autism spectrum.

By signing up to Walk for autism Australians will help deliver services that support autistic people to live their best life and help create autism-friendly environments where they feel welcomed and understood.

Dr Vicki Gibbs, head of research at Aspect said Walk for autism is a highlight on the service providers Aspect’s calendar and an opportunity to create positive change.

“This year our campaign is highlighting the fact that about 70 per cent of autistic people experience mental health issues and that living in a world that is not autism-friendly can cause or exacerbate mental health problems,” she said.  

“We know the world is not autism-friendly and we are working hard to change this, particularly through education, as understanding fosters empathy and acceptance. Our autism friendly team works with organisations nationwide to conduct sensory assessments, providing advice on how to improve accessibility and inclusion for autistic people in a wide range of environments including workplaces, public spaces, events and venues.”

In addition, research shows people diagnosed on the autism spectrum in adulthood are nearly three times as likely as their childhood-diagnosed counterparts to report having mental health conditions. Access to an early diagnosis may reduce the likelihood of developing secondary mental health problems in later life.

During Walk for autism, participants can choose to walk 7k steps a day for a week, a fortnight or the entire month of May and there is no set event or location so participants can walk anywhere, at any time, in any place.  

To register visit