The National ASD Development Team, hosted by the Welsh Local Government Association in partnership with Public Health Wales, are supporting and coordinating the development of a new Integrated Autism Service (IAS) across Wales.
In March 2016, the Minister for Health and Social Services announced a £6 million investment in the development of an IAS for Wales. In April 2017, the Minister for Social Services and Public Health announced additional funding taking the total funding to £13 million. The first IAS launched in Powys in July 2017 with areas in SE Wales launching in September/October 2017. The remaining 3 areas (North, West and South West Wales) will launch their IAS during 2018.
Why are we developing an Integrated Autism Service?
Autistic individuals, parents and carers told us they needed more support. They told us they can not access services because they do not meet the eligibility criteria. They told us they wanted support with:
We learned that autistic adults and children and their family’s lives are severely affected because they can not access the correct support, that many can’t leave the house on a daily basis and that parents and carers feel highly stressed.
We also heard that many adults who think they may have autism find it difficult to access an assessment for this.
What will the service provide?
The service will provide diagnostic assessment for adults with autism (sometimes jointly with other services), support and advice for children, adults and those who support them.
I am a parent of a child with autism – what will this mean for me?
The Integrated Autism Service will support parents and carers by providing advice and support, signposting to other services and delivering programmes for young people. This will include support and advice to help manage difficulties such as:
Where needed, the service may also work with other staff involved with your child such as school staff or health visitors to make sure you and your child are given consistent support and advice.
Parents and carers will be able to self – refer to the service (we heard that needing professionals to refer you for support is not working for you).
I am an adult with Autism – what will this mean for me?
You will be able to get support from the service without needing to be referred by someone else. Staff in the service will be able to provide you with support and advice in relation to;
If you are an adult and think you have autism but do not have a diagnosis, the service will be able to offer you an assessment for autism if you want it.
How has this worked in other places?
We do not believe there is an all age, National service anywhere else in the World. We are very excited about it. The Welsh Government have listened to what autistic individuals and their parents and carers told us they needed to improve their day to day lives and have invested the funding needed to deliver it.
We have another unique resource in Wales – our team! We are supporting the creation of the Integrated Autism Service, developing new resources to help autistic individuals and parents/carers, and working hard to improve awareness and understanding of autism.
How will I know when the service is open and how to access it?
We will keep you updated via our website www.ASDinfoWales.co.uk, and via twitter and facebook – ASDinfoWales. We will also make sure that schools, GPs and voluntary organisations are aware.
Our latest scheme – ‘Can You See Me?’
This aims to improve access to community facilities for autistic individuals. We are promoting understanding and acceptance, amongst communities in Wales in order to improve access to facilities and reduce the stigma that many autistic individuals and their parents and carers experience.
As an introduction to adapting interactions for autistic individuals, we have created a range of posters providing tips for community provision such as high street stores, banks, supermarkets, hairdressers, cinemas, etc. We have also created leaflets for GPs and dentists.
Please visit our website and find out more about our awareness raising campaign "Can you see me"
Should autistic individuals wish to let others know they have autism, we provide them with a series of resources to help them let others know they are autistic; these include a wrist band, card, smartphone screensaver and a car window sticker – all with a distinct colourful pattern. Our thought provoking video to promote the scheme, has been supported by team players from the Welsh Rugby Union and the Football Association of Wales. Presented by Gethin Jones, the film overviews autism through a child’s eyes. You can see the film on our website and social media pages, please help us by sharing it.
Please share the film, follow us on facebook / twitter for updates. If you are able to volunteer and help us, please let us know.
Please e-mail [email protected] to request the wrist band, card, smartphone screensaver and a car window sticker and let us know if you are interested in making your town autism aware.