Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Government launches autism statutory guidance consultation

autismThe government has launched a consultation on proposed new statutory autism guidance to local authorities and NHS organisations to support the implementation of ‘Think Autism’, the update to the 2010 adult autism strategy.

In addition, the government has announced the 42 projects that will receive a share of the £1 million Autism Innovation Fund, which was also announced in ‘Think Autism’.

The consultation looks at issues including staff training, identification and diagnosis of autism in adults and the planning of services, preventative support and safeguarding and employment.

Responses are invited from adults with autism, families and carers, health and social care organisations that plan, commission and provide services for adults with autism and their families, among others.

Autism Innovation Fund

Some of the 6-month projects to receive money from that Autism Innovation Fund include:

Helping young people with life after school

A course to help people with autism to manage their money

A local ‘autism friends’ programme

 Using IT in imaginative ways to help reduce anxiety

Supporting people with autism into work and apprenticeships

The projects, which were chosen from more than 350 applications, are designed to be replicated elsewhere.

Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society (NAS), said: “It’s heartening to see the Government recognising the diverse needs of people with autism by backing a range of innovative models of support. These include an NAS pilot of mobile technology which helps students with autism manage anxiety and a new style of short break provision, based around two yurts in the grounds of our Somerset Court service.

“Beyond these initial short-term projects, we want the Government to continue investing in innovation, thus building the evidence base and driving improvements to autism services.

“While autism can have a profound effect on individuals and families, our experience shows that the right support can make all the difference.”

Along with these announcements, the government has also said that grants of £18,500 are being made available to each local authority to make local areas more autism-friendly. This could include improving buildings or buying relevant equipment.

Finally, the Autism Alliance UK has been selected to raise national awareness of autism and will receive up to £200,000 over the next few months. It will work with private and public organisations to raise the profile of autism, advise health and care professionals, businesses and community groups and create an autism ‘champions network’ of people to raise awareness among their professional and organisational networks.

For more information on the consultation, click here

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