Posted: Thu 15th Mar 2018

Call for Welsh Government “ to start acting on the knowledge in the autism community itself – says North Wales AM

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

The Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group on Autism and North Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, has called on the Welsh Government to involve the autism community itself in the design and delivery of services for people with autism. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Isherwood said that people living in the autism community, whether they are on the spectrum, or their families or carers, are the real experts in their own lives and should therefore be involved, ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Speaking in this week’s Business Statement, he said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I call for a Welsh Government Statement providing an update on the Integrated Autism Service, following the Welsh Government’s publication of the 1 March 2018, ‘Evaluation of the Integrated Autism Service and Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan: Interim Report’? ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The findings in this include weaknesses and inconsistencies in both assessment and diagnostic services for adults with autism, and in support services for adults and children with autism. It says ‘the focus upon co-production and prevention is expected to help improve effectiveness and reduce demand, and integration is expected to help maximise synergies and create more seamless services. However, evidence of the impact and efficiencies generated by integration remain weak’. “And a final quote: ‘Success requires a co-productive approach involving staff, service users and carers in the design, implementation and evaluation of the Integrated Autism Service’, but there are ‘concerns that the “top down” approach…has stifled this’. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Recognising that people living in the autism community, whether they are on the spectrum, or their families or carers, are the real experts in their own lives, and that although each is unique as an individual, as everybody else is, only they can truly deliver effective autism awareness to help public sector providers, and others, see the world through their eyes. I call for a Statement accordingly, because this report is significant, and merits proper scrutiny by this house”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Leader of the House Julie James AM replied: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s a very important report, and the Member quite rightly draws attention to the need for co-production for all services affecting individuals and their families. I’m sure that the Minister responsible will be looking very carefully at the report, and will be updating the Chamber on the Government’s response in due course.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Isherwood added: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If this Welsh Government really believes that it wants to make life better for the autism community in Wales, it must start doing things with them rather than to them, recognising that too many of the so-called experts involved in delivery of their Autism Service will continue to get it wrong until they start acting upon the knowledge and expertise in the autism community itself – and until we have an Autism Act imposing statutory duties in Wales.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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