A new national autism service for Wales, which will provide lifetime support for children and adults, will be set up in Wales, Welsh Labour’s Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
The service is a key part of the Welsh Labour Government’s refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan, which has been launched for 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 Labour 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.
- Continue to support the ASD national lead role to provide expert advice and guidance about autism to the Welsh Government, professional groups and stakeholders.
- Support and develop the ASDinfowales website to provide an authoritative source of information and advice about autism in Wales.
- Deliver awareness-raising and training in the priority areas identified by stakeholders, to include schools, nurses, leisure services and employers.
The consultation on the refreshed action plan, which is open until 27th May can be found here.