Increasing awareness and understanding of autism

Section 2 of the 2010 Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives strategy sets out the strategy to increase understanding of autism by:

  • improving autism awareness training for all frontline public service staff, in line with the needs of their job, and
  • developing specialist training for staff in health and social care.

 

Why is awareness and understanding of autism important?

Frontline staff, from GPs to benefits advisers, acknowledge that their understanding of autism is limited.

While most professionals know something about autism, they do not necessarily understand how autism affects people. This makes it hard for them to recognise autism and communicate appropriately with people with autism. It also means they may not know how to adapt their behaviour and their services to support people with autism.

The autism strategy commits to increasing understanding of autism by improving autism awareness training for all frontline public service staff, in line with the needs of their job, and developing specialist training for staff in health and social care.

How will awareness and understanding of autism be increased?

The following information has been copied from the 2010 strategy. We have included clause numbers from the strategy after each point. You can view the full strategy by clicking here. Section 2 on awareness and understanding of autism starts on page 25.

Improving autism awareness training for all frontline public service staff, in line with the needs of their job

  • We recommend that autism awareness training should be included within general equality and diversity training programmes across all public services. (2.8)
  • The forthcoming statutory guidance will provide examples of best practice for health and social care, and emphasise the importance of involving adults with autism and their carers in developing and delivering training. (2.9)
  • ... ensuring that autism awareness training is provided to all DEAs who have not yet received it ... (2.11)
  • We believe it is essential that autism awareness training is available to all staff in the criminal justice sector. (2.14)

 

Developing specialist training for staff in health and social care

  • We believe it is therefore essential that autism awareness training is available to everyone working in health or social care ... (2.16)
  • We will therefore work with partners to develop effective training modules and approaches which can be used by local authorities and primary care trusts (PCTs) to create training programmes locally. (2.18)
  • The Department of Health has also recently commissioned the development of new online resources and information about autism for those working in the health and social care sectors. (2.19)
  • We will work with PCTs and local authorities to identify priority groups for training. (2.20)
  • We believe that autism awareness should be part of the core training curricula for doctors, nurses and other clinicians. (2.23)
  • We recommend that autism awareness should be an essential part of the training given to staff carrying out community care assessments. (2.24)

 

Raising awareness among and through employers

  • The Department for Work and Pensions is investigating whether existing campaigns and programmes such as Employ Ability can be extended to include more examples of adults with autism. (2.30)
  • It will be expected that autism awareness training is included in the equality and diversity planning and single equality schemes of all central government departments. (2.32)