Autism services get £1m of help in Wales

MORE than £1m is to be invested in services and support for adults with autism in Wales. The three-year funding follows recommendations made by the adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) task and finish group and is designed to help adults fulfil their potential.

Work will also be undertaken in a bid to develop and introduce an all-Wales network offering a diagnostic service for adults and a pre and post-counselling service in the next year and develop specific assessment tools and awareness-raising materials for those involved in the assessment process.

A publicity campaign will also target employers and businesses throughout Wales and an autism spectrum disorder employment ambassador will also be appointed.

Gwenda Thomas, deputy minister for social services, said: “I am delighted to announce this £1.7m to fund a wide range of services for adults with ASD, their carers and their families.

“This money will make a real difference to the lives of all those affected by ASD by improving diagnosis provision and employment opportunities as well as widening the range of services available consistently across Wales.

“I feel we are doing something positive for adults, young people and children with ASD and we can be proud of the fact that we are delivering yet another world first for Wales with this announcement.”

Rebecca Evans, policy and public affairs officer for the National Autistic Society Cymru, said: “Seventy-six per cent of adults with autism in Wales have told us that with more support they would feel less isolated.

“There are number of significant recommendations in this report, including a re-shape of diagnostic services, clarification of assessment processes for local authorities, and promoting to potential employers the positive contribution adults with autism can make to a work place.

“It is now imperative that the Assembly Government establishes a timeline for the ideas to be delivered on the ground.

“This could help adults with autism in Wales take a step towards living the fulfilled lives they deserve.”