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Plans for autism strategy announced
A consultation on plans for an autism strategy for Scotland was launched by Minister for Public Health Shona Robison.
The strategy - Towards an Autism Strategy for Scotland - sets out what the Scottish Government in partnership with users, carers and professionals proposes to do to meet the needs of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in response to growing concerns about available support.
It will seek views on what improvements can be made to services, identify gaps in provision and areas for future action.
Among the 26 recommendations in the draft strategy are:
- The Autism Spectrum Disorder Reference Group should be reconvened on a long-term basis to include COSLA membership to oversee developments and to progress change. It should produce an annual report to relevant Ministers
- The Reference Group should commission research to examine and compare the outcomes in relation to quality of life for those who are supported by autism service providers and individuals who access generic provision and that relevant findings are used to inform revised guidance for commissioners of services for people with ASD
- The group, in collaboration with autism service providers, will identify the key determinants of service provision that result in improved quality of life for people with ASD, across the spectrum and across the lifespan
- Agencies and services should develop a menu of interventions including therapeutic interventions and counselling for children, young people and adults with an ASD that are immediately available, appropriate and flexible to individual need
- The group should host an event to evaluate and recognise good practice in Scotland to disseminate models of practice, to evaluate success, recognise benefits and limitations and agree how to develop good models across the country in a way that is cost-effective
Ms Robison said:
"We need to ensure individuals are included and truly integrated into society as valued citizens. To make this aspiration a reality means having access to personalised support when it is needed in education, in social care, in healthcare, as well as in enabling individuals to contribute to the economy through employment.
"Our long-term vision needs a major shift in society's attitudes towards autism. This will only be achieved through partnership working between central and local government and the independent sector. I look forward to hearing Scotland's views on the strategy and working together to improve services for people living with autism and their carers."