Info graphic for Autism Act campaign - tracking the Autism Act strategy

 

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Autism Act, our charity has been working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism to explore what has worked, what isn’t working and what needs to change to support autistic people.

Sign up to campaign updates to hear the latest developments as we progress through this important year.

What's happened so far?

A survey

We launched a survey in January asking autistic people and their families about their experiences of care and support. We received over 10,000 responses which has given us a wealth of information and personal experiences to explore.

Inquiry sessions

Alongside the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism we have held six evidence sessions at the Houses of Parliament over March to May 2019.

The aim of these sessions was to find out more about the impact the Act has had on autistic adults across a number of areas, and to discuss what more needs to be done. A Member of Parliament chaired each session, in which panellists asked questions to a range of witnesses - including autistic people and their families, sector experts and professionals.

  1. Health and mental health: took place on 14 March, Chaired by the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP
    This session explored the health inequalities autistic people often face in the health system, which include barriers in getting a timely diagnosis and the need for better training. It also placed a focus on looking at the deeply concerning issues relating to people being stuck in inappropriate Assessment and Treatment Units. Panellists and witnesses also discussed the actions the Government can take to stop so many autistic people being sectioned in often inappropriate settings.
  2. Public understanding: took place on 1 April, Chaired by the Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP
    This session focussed on efforts to improve public understanding and how we can change perceptions to create a more autism-friendly society. It also explored what autistic people want society to understand, and how the Government can help to drive improvements in understanding in the next autism strategy.
  3. Access to justice: took place on 7 May, Chaired by Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
    In this session, panellists and witnesses discussed what happens when people first come into contact with the justice system (i.e. the police), and then looked at what the Government needs to do to improve the support autistic people can access within the prison system, including improving access to training and reasonable adjustments.
  4. Support in adulthood: took place on 8 May, Chaired by Catherine West MP
    This session, which focused on social care, benefits and community mental health support, looked at the barriers autistic people face in trying to access social care and benefits assessments, as well as the struggles people often have in accessing this support. It also delved into what the impact can be when autistic adults and/or their family members don’t have the support they need, and witnesses made the case for a system that properly supports people.
  5. Employment: took place on 16 May, Chaired by Thangam Debbonaire MP
    The first part of session looked at the challenges autistic people may face in getting a job, and the second at whether there is adequate support in place to support autistic people in employment.
  6. Education and transition to adulthood: took place on 20 May, Chaired by Huw Merriman MP
    The first part of this session looked at whether the education system is working well with health and social care services to support autistic children and their families, and the second considered whether autistic young people supported well in transition from education to adulthood.

"Know Your Rights"

The Autism Act is here to support, protect and empower people.

Evidence from a new Autism Alliance national survey paints a troubling picture, with 80% of autistic people saying they needed more information on their rights. Two thirds of local authorities said they were not using autism specific assessment tools.

The Autism Alliance launched a campaign in April 2019 to support autistic people to "Know Your Rights”. The launch was held in Westminster with a meeting of autistic people, families and carers, as well as representatives from Mencap and the National Autistic Society.

What now?

Through these sessions we have been able to gather lots of really valuable information which, alongside the responses to our survey, will inform a report that we will launch in September 2019.

The recommendations in this report will then feed into the Government’s planned review of the autism strategy, which is also taking place in 2019 and for the first time has been extended to children and young people.

Over the coming months we will continue to share information about the Autism Act and the rights and responsibilities that sit underneath it. We will also continue to campaign to ensure that the ten year anniversary and the strategy review result in the delivery of the promise of the Autism Act.

Read more

What is the Autism Act?

Read blogs from autistic people about what the Autism Act means to them: