So here in the UK a new law was passed – The Autism Bill 2009 UK. This was intended to force the government to work with local health authorities and local government to produce strategies to improve services for adults on the autistic spectrum. There was a duty on government to publish their strategy by the end of 2010 which they have.
Below are the 5 key points of the governments strategy:
- making sure that more people understand about autism
- making it easier for adults to get a diagnosis of autism – a diagnosis is when a doctor tells someone that they have autism
- making it easier for adults with autism to choose how they live and get the help that they need to do this
- helping adults with autism to find jobs
- helping local councils and health services to write plans so that the adults with autism who live in their area get the help that they need.
The government now requires the NHS and local authorities to do the following:
- provide autism awareness training for all staff
- provide specialist autism training for key staff, such as GPs and community care assessors
- cannot refuse a community care assessment for adults with autism based solely on IQ
- must appoint an autism lead in their area
- have to develop a clear pathway to diagnosis and assessment for adults with autism
- need to commission services based on adequate population data.
So what is the reality in 2013? well in my experience nothing has changed. I have had many consultations with doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists since the government published their autism strategy and at no time have any of these professionals told me that there is a new autism specific service I can be referred to.
It really seems to me that lack of money and commitment mean that for most autistic adults services and support are still practically non existent.
I’m angry, disappointed and very frustrated