Welsh First Minister responds to Left Stranded report
Published on 16 September 2020
Our Left Stranded report, highlighting some of the challenges faced by autistic people and their families during the coronavirus pandemic, was discussed during First Ministers Questions this week.
The report shows that:
nine out of ten autistic people worried about their mental health during lockdown and that autistic people are seven times more likely to be chronically lonely
one in five family members had to reduce work due to caring responsibilities
seven in ten parents said their child had difficulty understanding or completing school work and around half said their child’s academic progress suffered.
As a result, the report makes a number of recommendations for governments across the UK. Specifically, it asks the Welsh Government to:
create an action plan to protect autistic people and their families in case of a second wave, covering social care, health, education, transport and shops
prioritise the development of the Code of Practice on the Delivery of Autism Services as soon as possible to ensure it can be agreed during this Senedd term, strengthening the legal rights of autistic people and their families in Wales
publish the Additional Learning Needs Code ahead of moving to the new support system in 2021, and implement the commitment that all teachers receive mandatory autism training as part of their initial teacher education
roll out a national public awareness campaign on autism.
The First Minister acknowledged the impact that coronavirus has had on autistic people and provided an update on some of the work the Welsh Government is doing to improve the support available. This includes a commitment to make a further statement on the proposed Code of Practice on the Delivery of Autism Services, detailing plans for publication.
The First Minister also referred to our guide on face coverings, developed with the National Autism Team and the Welsh Government, to help people understand and communicate the rules on wearing face coverings, and why some people are unable to wear them. This issue was also raised by Helen Mary Jones MS.