A new national autism service for Wales, which will provide lifetime support for children and adults, will be set up in Wales.
The service is a key part of the Welsh Government’s refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan, which is being launched today. It will be subject to a 12-week consultation.
The Welsh Government published its original strategic action plan in 2008, which was the first of its kind in the UK.
The refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan focuses on raising awareness of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD); ensuring information, advice and training is available to all; improving assessment, diagnosis and support for people with ASD; addressing support needs and ensuring people have access to a good education and career advice and support.
Backed by £6m from the Welsh Government over the next three years, the new integrated autism service, which will be launched this year and will be rolled out across Wales by 2019, will improve support services for children, young people and adults.
The new service will be based on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s best practice standards and will include a focus on multi-agency and multi-disciplinary working, ensuring people with autism receive joined up services and support.
The new integrated autism service will:•Bring together existing children’s autistic spectrum disorder neurodevelopmental teams within health boards to provide diagnostic, assessment and specialist interventions (therapies) for children with ASD;
•Develop new specialist adult teams, which will offer diagnostic provision;
•Develop new community support teams in health board areas, providing behavioural advice, low-level support, access to community services, support programmes and sign-posting. This service will also provide training for parents and carers across the age range;
•Build on existing services by developing professional capacity and enhancing skills, to improve diagnostic assessment and post-diagnostic support.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan sets out the Welsh Government’s commitment to support children, young people and adults with ASD throughout their lives. We want to ensure their needs are understood and there is information and support available to enable them to lead fulfilling lives.
“The new national integrated autism service for Wales will ensure people are supported to achieve their own wellbeing outcomes by receiving the right support, by the right professional, in the right place, at the right time. It will ensure there is consistency across the country, ensuring people with autism are able to access comparable services across Wales.
“The service will be rolled out to all health board areas by 2019. As we develop and roll out the service we will include people with autism, to make sure it is meeting identified needs.”
Other measures in the refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan include:
•Continuing to support the ASD national lead role to provide expert advice and guidance about autism to the Welsh Government, professional groups and stakeholders;
•To support and develop the ASDinfowales website (http://www.asdinfowales.co.uk/home/) to provide an authoritative source of information and advice about autism in Wales;
•The delivery of awareness-raising and training in the priority areas identified by stakeholders, to include schools, nurses, leisure services and employers.
A new ‘Learning with Autism’ programme has also been launched to raise awareness of autism among primary school children in Wales.
Developed in collaboration with Newport, Torfaen and Caerphilly councils, the programme will offer professionals, parents, carers and individuals with autism a wide range of resources including a new look website and specialised training opportunities.
Launching at Caedraw School in Merthyr, whose pupils took part in producing a range of educational films designed to raise awareness of autism, the programme will be funded by Welsh Government and delivered by the WLGA in close partnership with Public Health Wales.
Commenting on the launch, Cllr Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA spokesperson for health and social care said: “The WLGA is extremely proud to host this programme which has a lead role to play in providing a friendly, accessible and reliable source of information and advice about autism in Wales. The new resources being developed for the ‘Learning with Autism,’ including specialist films and a new-look website, will all help to engage primary school staff to ensure a greater level of understanding and awareness of autism within our schools.
“We also welcome the Welsh Government’s launch of its refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan, and look forward to working closely with them in the future to build on the success of their previous action plan which was the first of its kind in the UK.”
If you want further information about how to get support or advice with regards autism click the link: http://www.ASDinfoWales.co.uk