This year is the 10th anniversary of the Autism Act. We’ll be marking this anniversary throughout 2019 and campaigning to make sure the Government improves support for autistic children and adults.
What is the Act?
The Autism Act was a landmark in the battle to improve the lives of autistic adults and their families in England. It created an autism strategy and statutory guidance. This put a legal duty on government, councils and health services to provide specific support for autistic adults.
The Government is reviewing the autism strategy this year and this is an opportunity to campaign for change.
Help us campaign by taking our survey
Getting the Autism Act through Parliament was a joint effort between autistic people, families, MPs and various organisations, including our charity. And we need to come together again to improve the strategy.
We want to hear about your experiences of autism services and support so we can show the Government where things are going wrong.
The survey should take between 15 and30 minutes to complete.
Our wider plans
We're going to be campaigning throughout the year and will be sharing blogs from autistic people and their families. We will also be inviting autistic people and their families to get involved in a range of activities, actions and events.
This includes working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA, a cross-party group of MPs and Lords) to investigate the current state of care and support for autistic children and adults. With the APPGA, we will look at the autism strategy and ask:
What has worked well?
What hasn’t worked?
What needs to change?
We’ll present what we find out and what we think needs to change in a report in the autumn. And we will campaign hard to make sure that evidence is heard and that this leads to real change.
We'll also be reaching out to the Government, councils and health and care providers to help everyone to understand what the Autism Act means for them, and the support they should already be providing to autistic people.
By working together, we know that we can transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.
Robyn Steward is autistic and was involved in the campaign that led to the Autism Act 10 years ago.
Robyn said: “It was an honour to be part of the campaign. Having spent a lot of my life up till that point quite powerless (I was 22 at the time) I was so glad to be making a difference.
“School and college had been really hard - people spat in condoms and threw them at me, they called me spastic and a retard. I was living in Suffolk at the time and could not go anywhere independently. Although I got my diagnosis when I was 11 it didn’t make much difference because people did not have a lot of information about autism. So I was excited that the Autism Act would make a difference to people like me.
“I was especially excited that the Act would make it the law for local authorities to provide training for people who are ‘customer facing’ – as well as specialist training for social workers doing assessments.
“Things have changed but there are still a lot of problems. The biggest issue is that there is little accountability on local implementation. This means that there is no consequence for local authorities if they do not meet the requirements in the Act – unless you want to take them to court, which is a big step and you might not be successful.
"Please take the National Autistic Society’s survey, so they can show the Government where things are going wrong – and help make sure the Government improves support for autistic people.
“The Autism Act was a huge achievement that gave autism a profile and a law to make the world better for autistic people. However, there still needs to be force applied to make sure it actually happens.”
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