New measures to improve autism services in Wales
A new one-year plan to address priorities for action for children, young people and adults with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) has been published by the Welsh Government (Mon 18th May).
The new interim delivery plan is backed by £600,000 of funding, which is in addition to the £880,000 ASD infrastructure grant which was transferred into the local authority revenue settlement grant this year.
The Welsh Government is also investing £2m to develop specific services to better diagnose and support young people with ADHD and ASD. This will reduce waiting times in specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) so those with highest levels of clinical need are seen in a more timely manner.
The Welsh Government’s ASD Strategic Action Plan was published in 2008 and since then more than £12m has been made available to support its implementation.
Ministers have made a commitment to refresh the action plan and a stakeholder advisory group was set up to support its development.
The interim delivery plan will take forward the most pressing actions identified by the advisory group during the development of the refreshed ASD action plan.
- Addressing delays in diagnosis and improving ASD diagnostic pathways
- developing options for an integrated service to identify unmet need and address the most acute gaps in services and support
- improving education and employment outcomes including transition
- developing awareness raising and professional training materials and resources.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“I’m very pleased to announce a number of new measures to improve the process of diagnosing children, young people and adults with ASD and the services available to support them.
“This plan, which is backed by more than £600,000 funding from the Welsh Government, sets out what we want to achieve over the next 12 months and its outcomes will inform decisions about longer-term goals.
“We’re also making a £2m investment to develop specific services to better diagnose and support young people with ADHD and ASD. This will cut waiting times in specialist child and adolescent mental health services so those with highest levels of clinical need are seen in a more timely manner.”
Actions in the interim delivery plan will support the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being Wales Act 2014, including collaborative working; population needs assessment; prevention and the provision of information advice and assistance.
Wales was the first part of the UK to take a strategic approach to autism by publishing the ASD Strategic Action Plan in 2008. Since then, partners across statutory and voluntary agencies have worked together with stakeholder groups to develop local services, which have helped to make a real difference to the lives of people with autism, their parents and carers.
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