Money provided for autism services

Councils are to receive more than £1 million to help provide better support for people with autism.

The Scottish Government is providing a total of £1.12 million, in what is the first time since it launched its autism strategy last November that money has been given to councils to help those with the condition.

The cash is part of more than £1.8 million being made available now to support the strategy which aims to improve support for people with autism and their families.

Around 30 organisations will benefit from £644,000 from the Autism Development Fund which supports those developing new services. And £100,000 will also go to the Open University and Strathclyde University to provide free distance learning courses to increase understanding of the disorder.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson announced the funding while visiting Parents of Autistic Spectrum Disorder Adults (Pasda), one of the organisations receiving cash from the Autism Development Fund.

Pasda provides practical and emotional support to parents and those caring for adults with autism in the Edinburgh and Lothians area. It will benefit from £47,400 next year.

Mr Matheson said: “Our autism strategy was launched in November to ensure people with autism and their families are supported by the widest possible range of services including social care, education, housing and employment.

“We are beginning to make a real difference to the lives of people with autism by improving support services available to people who need them. One year on, we are making good progress.

“This funding will make a real impact in delivering the strategy. It will help local authorities to develop strategies and action plans, will help organisations deliver services locally where people need them and, by delivering training, we will increase the understanding of autism.”

Susan Chambers, Pasda convener, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application to the Autism Development Fund. This funding means that we will be able to continue to provide support to parents and other family carers of adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) across Lothian.”