Autism charity welcome new Autism Strategy announced today

In a new strategy announced today the government has promised to help autistic adults to live independently.

Kevin Healey Said, “this is fantastic news, Adults with Autism have been ignored for far too long, and now with the new Autism Strategy, Local Authorities now have a duty to implement the appropriate services for those affected with Autism.

The strategy will allow adults with autism, and their families, to have more control over where they live – recognising sensitivities to, for instance, harsh lighting in a home, and offering support to those who want to live independently etc.

Among the aims of the strategy are to increase awareness and understanding of autism among frontline public services staff. Too often, people with autism are thought to be rude and difficult by the police, or they avoid going to see a GP because of crowds in the waiting rooms. Employment advisers may recommend only certain types of job, and some social workers assume that all people with autism have a learning disability.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said adults with autism have been excluded for “far too long” adding that the new strategy was a “foundation for culture changes”.

Government statistics claim that just 15 per cent of autistic adults are in paid employment and 49 per cent still live at home with their parents. The government strategy therefore, entitled Fulfilling and rewarding lives, aims to help adults with autism to find work and live independent lives.

The strategy sets a framework for all mainstream public sector services to support adults with autism and is backed up by the Autism Act 2009, the first ever condition specific legislation.

Mr Hope said: “It is unacceptable that adults with autism are not getting the support they need to live independently and find work. This strategy will start a fundamental change in public services with better awareness and understanding.”

The autism strategy includes:

  • a new National Autism Programme Board to lead change in public services set out in the strategy;
  • a programme to develop training with health and social care professional bodies – £500,000 investment is also announced today because better recognition and awareness in frontline public services is critical to giving adults with autism the support they need;
  • autism awareness training for all Jobcentre Plus Disability Employment Advisers;
  • guidance on making public services accessible for adults with autism, like improving buildings, public transport and communication;
  • a clear, consistent pathway for diagnosis.