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Take My Hand

 

05:52 Monday 25 November 2013

 

Written by GARETH MCPHERSON

 

An expert from Cambridge University has said he is underwhelmed by the Government’s efforts to improve support for people with autism.

 

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, director of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre, said the optimism brought on by the Autism Act has been diminished by a lack of spending – and suggested punishing regions who do not offer a good enough service.

 

In an interview with John Bercow MP, who has a son with autism, at a National Autistic Society (NAS) event, Prof Baron-Cohen said he was most concerned about the Government’s policy of “decentralisation”, which means no-one takes responsibility for monitoring or naming and shaming regions that are failing.

 

He said: “The Autism Act in 2009 was a cause of celebration, because at last people with autism – especially adults who had been under the radar for services and support – were finally being discussed by the House of Commons. But four years on, Baron-Cohen, who accepts it is still early days, is worried.

 

He added: “All the Autism Act did was to call on the Department of Health to implement an autism strategy. That was fine, although it left the details to be worked out.

 

“In 2010, the DH published the Autism Strategy and on paper it looked good. But good intentions – to ensure rapid access to diagnosis, and a quick route to the clinical pathway of receiving life-long post-diagnosis support – need extra spending, and even penalties on those regions that are not delivering an excellent service.

 

“Regretfully, in too many parts of the country, services are still very patchy.”

 

A NAS survey found too many adults with the condition are still waiting for support. It revealed 77 per cent of respondents need help managing money, but only 4 per cent receive support.

 

Source:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Health/Health-news/Autism-support-still-not-good-enough-warns-Cambridge-University-expert-Prof-Simon-Baron-Cohen-20131125055221.htm



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