Support is being improved for people with autism as the Scottish Government and partner agencies develop a tool box that pulls local information together. It is part of an updated version of The Scottish Strategy for Autism, Outcomes and Priorities 2018-21.
Councillor Peter Johnston,COSLA’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson, said:
“It is great to see the launch of the new updated autism strategy, I wholeheartedly welcome it. I also very much welcome the partnership approach between ourselves and Scottish Government to get us to this stage.
“It is good to see autism getting pushed up the political agenda and I sincerely hope that this updated strategy further improves the general public’s understanding of autism.”
The toolbox is one of the priorities set out by the Scottish Government after responding to comments from people with autism and other agencies.
An Autism Strategy Review Group will report in 2020 on the progress made on the priorities set. The outcomes established in 2015 remain unchanged and are:
- A Healthy Life: Autistic people enjoy the highest attainable standard of living, health and family life and have timely access to diagnostic assessment and integrated support services.
- Choice and Control: Autistic people are treated with dignity and respect and services are able to identify their needs and are responsive to meet those needs.
- Independence: Autistic people are able to live independently in the community with equal access to all aspects of society. Services have the capacity and awareness to ensure that people are met with recognition and understanding.
- Active Citizenship: Autistic people are able to participate in all aspects of community and society by successfully transitioning from school into meaningful educational or employment opportunities.
The assessment and diagnosis of autism is to improve. For people with complex care needs alternative solutions will be explored for more localised placements. There is to be investment in training for social and health care staff and the Care Inspectorate is to appoint an autism champion.
The online site Right Click for girls with autism will continue to be supported. It provides:
” information in addressing health and wellbeing challenges for females who live with the condition as well as their parents, carers and other professionals working in the field of autism.”
For adults with autism advocacy support and housing needs will also be included as people age. Fair Start Scotland, the new employment programme set to start in April will be expected to provide support. Staff in Further Education will be provided with additional training.
Maureen Watt, Mental Health Minister in the Scottish Government said:
“Our updated plan builds on the work and progress we have made since the Scottish Government published the first strategy in 2011. More than 1,200 people took the opportunity to share their experiences, concerns and hopes, and our updated strategy reflects this.
“Autistic people and their families were clear they needed better and more easily-accessible information about support. And I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make the public and those who provide care and education are not just aware of the needs of autistic people, but their successes and contributions as well.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame