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Policy aims to stop adults with autism being left jobless and on the margins of society
By Peter Russell
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

3rd March 2010 — A new strategy aims to help adults in England with autism live more independent lives, while boosting public understanding of the condition.

The Department of Health announced last year that it would come up with a policy in response to findings that only 15% of adults with autism are in paid work and that 49% still live at home with parents.

It wants people with autism to have the same access to jobs, education and public services as other people.

Autism affects the way a person communicates and relates to others. It is a lifelong disability, and people with autism have difficulties with everyday social interaction.

Lack of support

The National Autistic Society says there are 300,000 adults with autism in England. Its own research suggests that at least one in three adults with autism are experiencing serious mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.

Last year the government passed the Autism Act which put a duty on the Health Secretary to improve conditions for adults with autism. That law has led to the new strategy called Fulfilling and rewarding lives. It promises a number of measures, including:

  • Setting up a new National Autism Programme Board to oversee changes
  • An investment of £500,000 towards health and social care training
  • Improving job prospects by giving autism awareness training for all Jobcentre Plus Disability Employment Advisers
  • Guidance on making public services, buildings, public transport and communication more accessible
  • Streamlining the way autism is diagnosed

Phil Hope, the Care Services Minister, says in a statement that it’s unacceptable that people with autism are unable to find work and live independent lives. “I want the autism strategy to be the foundation for change in the way our whole society treats adults with autism. They have a huge contribution to make – shutting them out deprives everyone,” he says.

“First step”: Charity

Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, called the initiative a long awaited “first step” and added, in an emailed statement, that “now the next step will be to translate the strategy into decisive action at a local level”.

Today’s announcement will be followed by statutory guidance for health and social care by the end of the year. The strategy is due to be reviewed in 2013.

The National Autism Society in Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to follow the example of England and develop a national strategy for adults with autism.

Source: http://www.webmd.boots.com/news/20100303/new-autism-strategy-unveiled

NAS Welcomes Adult Autism Strategy For England

Source: National Autistic Society (NAS)
Published Wednesday, 3 March, 2010 – 11:18

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is pleased to welcome the publication of the first ever strategy for improving the lives of adults with autism in England.

Last year, when we achieved the Autism Act 2009, we committed the Government to publishing an Adult Autism Strategy to transform services for adults with autism. The publication of this strategy meets this commitment.

The strategy sets out a number of key actions and recommendations for central Government as well as for local authorities, the NHS and Jobcentre Plus.

In particular, we welcome the following aspects of the strategy.

    * Improved training of frontline professionals in autism.
    * The recommendation to develop local autism teams.
    * Actions for better planning and commissioning of services, including involving people with autism and their parents/carers in this process.
    * Actions for improving access to diagnosis.
    * Leadership structures at national, regional and local levels to support delivery.
    * Proposals for reviewing the strategy to make sure that it is working.

We are particularly pleased that the strategy encourages the development of local teams and the development of local autism partnership boards.

These were key actions that we have been calling for throughout the development of the strategy.

Source:  http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/34178



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