‘Think Autism’ is the Government’s update to ‘Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives’, the 2010 adult autism strategy. It sets out a clear programme that government departments will be taking to improve the lives of people with autism.
View a digital version of ‘Think Autism’
‘Think Autism’ reaffirms that 5 key areas for action remain:
- increasing awareness and understanding of autism
- developing clear, consistent pathways for the diagnosis of autism
- improving access for adults with autism to services and support
- helping adults with autism into work
- enabling local partners to develop relevant services.
In addition 15 priority challenges for action have been identified by people with autism, carers, professionals and others who work with people with autism:
- I want to be accepted as who I am within my local community. I want people and organisations in my community to have opportunities to raise their awareness and acceptance of autism.
- I want my views and aspirations to be taken into account when decisions are made in my local area. I want to know whether my local area is doing as well as others.
- I want to know how to connect with other people. I want to be able to find local autism peer groups, family groups and low level support.
- I want the everyday services that I come into contact with to know how to make reasonable adjustments to include me and accept me as I am. I want the staff who work in them to be aware and accepting of autism.
- I want to be safe in my community and free from the risk of discrimination, hate crime and abuse.
- I want to be seen as me and for my gender, sexual orientation and race to be taken into account.
- I want a timely diagnosis from a trained professional. I want relevant information and support throughout the diagnostic process.
- I want autism to be included in local strategic needs assessments so that person centred local health, care and support services, based on good information about local needs, is available for people with autism.
- I want staff in health and social care services to understand that I have autism and how this affects me.
- I want to know that my family can get help and support when they need it.
- I want services and commissioners to understand how my autism affects me differently through my life. I want to be supported through big life changes such as transition from school, getting older or when a person close to me dies.
- I want people to recognise my autism and adapt the support they give me if I have additional needs such as a mental health problem, a learning disability or if I sometimes communicate through behaviours which others may find challenging.
- If I break the law, I want the criminal justice system to think about autism and to know how to work well with other services.
- I want the same opportunities as everyone else to enhance my skills, to be empowered by services and to be as independent as possible.
- I want support to get a job and support from my employer to help me keep it.
‘Think Autism’ has a new focus on building communities that are more aware of and accessible to the needs of people with autism. It also looks at promoting innovative local ideas, services or projects that can help people in their communities and how advice and information on services can be better joined up.
The Government will put £4.5 million of revenue and capital funding towards an Innovation Fund and a community led awareness programme. The innovation fund will support the development and replication of new services. The Awareness programme will help build understanding among the professionals working with people with autism and among the general public, and to make communities more autism-friendly.