On 05 December, the Government has announced that their review of services and support for autistic people will be extended to cover children as well as adults for the first time.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage acknowledged that care for children with autism was not good enough and that many were falling through the cracks, calling for a strategy which improved outcomes for both adults and children alike.

The proposed review will focus on key areas such as;

  • joining up health, care and education services for a holistic approach
  • developing services to support earlier diagnosis
  • improving the transition between children and adult services
  • improving understanding of autism and all its profiles

Priors Court CEO Mike RobinsonPrior’s Court CEO Mike Robinson welcomed the announcement, saying; “This is fantastic news for young people with autism and their families. For too long, the strategy has looked at just one part of the puzzle with focus being placed upon adults with autism rather than the whole autistic population – but every adult was once a child. We see time and time again through our work that getting the appropriate provision in place from a young age can transform lives, and literally save families from crisis.

“From the point of initial enquiry, it can sometimes take up to three years to get an appropriate placement agreed with families often having to resort to the emotionally draining, costly and time consuming SEND tribunal route to secure the right placement. Whilst engaging in this battle families are often forced to accept unsuitable placements along the way, leaving the young person and their families at risk and vulnerable.”

As part of their review, the government will collect evidence from autistic children and adults, families, carers and professionals on how to improve services and support. The new strategy is due to be launched in the autumn of 2019. Read more about the review from the Department of Health and Social Care.