New strategy for helping people with autism

The Government reaffirmed its committment to the Autism Bill today, with particular focus on adults and women with autism.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope today pledged a national autism strategy, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to the Autism Billthe first time parliament has ever debated a specific bill to deal with autism.

Speaking at a Fabian Women’s Network fringe at Labour party conference, Mr Hope stressed the need for more research, and a greater focus on females and adults with autism. He said:

“On this particular issue around gender discrimination, the visibility of girls and women with autism not being seen and identified, it’s exactly that kind of issue which a national strategy needs to contain from the outset, but also, as we learn more, we can review the strategy and make sure it’s as up-to-date and relevant as new research becomes available.

“A lot of work is being done about children, but I think adults with autism have been completely overlooked until now – that is the reason for the focus on adults. And that strategy not only has to exist in law but we will issue statutory guidance to local authorities and primary care trusts to make sure it is implemented.

“Whether it’s dealing with issues today generally about social care and support or whether it’s about some of the specifics of helping people with autism, I think we can be proud of what we have achieved, we have put this high on the political agenda we have raised it right to the very top of what people are most concerned about.”

The news comes the day after the Prime Minister announced the creation of a National Care Service, which will provide home-care for 350,000 families looking after relatives with conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s. The £400 million cost of the proposals will be met mainly by cutting parts of the current health budget, including some medical research, management consultancy costs, advertising and IT programmes.

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