Cheryl Gillan MP for Chesham and Amersham, UK – published a very honest and frank article on the Conservative Home website about how the government can help people who are affected by autism.
“For a number of years I have been aware of, and increasingly concerned by, the lack of support for people with autism in this country, and a lack of understanding that autism affects adults as well as children. Children with autism become adults with autism.”
She tells of how in a recent survey carried out by the National Autistic Society (NAS), that 63 per cent of adults with autism said that they need help with preparing meals and that 36 per cent need support with washing and dressing.
Cheryl Gillan explains that she first became aware of these challenges in 2008, and used a Private Members Bill to draw attention to the issues faced.
This resulted in the Autism Act 2009.
“This was heralded as a major step forwards in ensuring support and services for adults with the condition, by committing the Government into publishing an adult autism strategy. This set out how adults with autism should be better supported, and placed duties on local authorities and the NHS to take action.”
However she goes on to explain that there is still a long way to go until all adults on the autistic spectrum are receiving the care and support that they need.
In a recent NAS survey 70 per cent of adults said they are not receiving the help they need from social services.
’23 per cent of those who did have contact with social workers felt that they had a good understanding of the condition and its effects.’
Cheryl Gillan goes on to explain that a number of barriers to successful implementation of the autism strategy have been identified and that effective solutions would involve an ‘innovation fund’ which would:
“Support local authorities to improve the services currently available to adults with autism, and help them to develop understanding of the best way to deliver services and highlight areas of best practice”
Also the addition of an autism awareness scheme would allow volunteers and community groups to use resources to help these individuals in developing a programme of autism awareness and training in their local areas.
Cheryl Gillan tells that this can be achieved by public buildings having adaptations made and that front line staff in the public sector need to have autism awareness training. She also adds that there needs to be more autism-friendly activities at places such as the cinema and swimming pools.
Cheryl Gillan ends by saying that:
“She would urge this Government to seriously consider the practical soluts that can be introduced to help adults with autism live a full and active life in our society. They have the chance to really change things and it should not go to waste.”
The full article by Cheryl Gillan can be read in the Conservative Home website here