The development of an Integrated Autism Service across the country is a key commitment in Welsh Government’s “Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan” published last year. The launch last week (12 July 2017) of the new service in Powys by Welsh Government Minister for Social Services and Public Health Rebecca Evans AM is a vital step in a national programme that will deliver an all-age autism service to all parts of Wales.
The Integrated Autism Service aims to respond to feedback from people with autism, parents and carers about the support they need and the challenges they face. Across Wales, they have said that they want support with behaviour issues, emotional issues such as anxiety and anger, developing social and daily living skills and accessing leisure and recreational activities. Family members and carers have said that they need specialist support in their role in caring for and championing their loved ones.
By establishing an Integrated Autism Service in all parts of Wales the Welsh Government aims to provide a service for all ages, in the community, that brings together staff across a range of professions and services. The service aims to provide diagnostic assessment for adults, as well as advice, support and interventions for adults with autism. It will also provide support, advice and training for adults as well as parents and carers. It will also help to develop other professionals across health and care so that they are better able to meet the needs of people with autism wherever they seek advice and support.
Launching the new Integrated Autism Service in Powys at the Erwood Building, Bronllys Hospital, Minister for Social Services and Public Health Rebecca Evans AM said:
“Wales has led the way in terms of delivering for people with autism. The national Integrated Autism Service will mean that there new specialist teams in every region across Wales, and these teams will provide adult diagnosis, help with transition, community support for people, and also training for professionals in a wide variety of fields. We will also be ensuring that people are working together in ways which they haven’t before, so that people who are working as psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, support workers from right across health and social care will be working in partnership to deliver for people with autism, and we also going to be seeing education working more closely than ever before with health and social care.
“I would like to congratulate Powys for being the first to be rolling out their integrated autism service. We have Cwm Taff, Cardiff and the Vale, and Gwent also rolling out their services later this year, and the remaining areas then rolling out their services by 2018. So, we will all be looking to Powys to see what we can learn and to see you blazing the trail, and I’m already really proud by what you’ve achieved.”
The service in Powys is a partnership between people with autism, family and carers, staff and organisations, all of whom were represented at this week’s launch event. Underpinning this partnership is joint working between Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys County Council, who were the hosts for this week’s launch.
Professor Vivienne Harpwood, Chair of Powys Teaching Health Board said:
“The Integrated Autism Service aims to provide a much more joined-up experience for people with autism, their families and carers. This launch represents the early steps in co-producing a service that supports people with autism to thrive. The next steps will build on the commitments between the health board and Powys County Council in our first joint Health and Care Strategy, published earlier this month, to support all the people of Powys to Start Well, Live Well and Age Well.”
Cllr Stephen Hayes, Powys County Council Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care said:
“We have a good track record in Powys of developing integrated services, but this new service is more so than most, involving partnership with housing and education, as well as health and social care, the third sector, service users and a wide range of partners.
“Any new service is rightly judged on the benefit it brings to those it serves, and in the case of the Integrated Autism Service that means the support it provides to those on the autistic spectrum, their families and carers in accessing services and achieving and maintaining wellbeing through the various phases of life.”
Dr Nicola Jones, Clinical Lead for the Integrated Autism Service for Powys, said:
“On behalf of the team I would like to thank the Minister and all present for visiting us to learn about the service and support this official launch. I would like to thank the team and those behind the scenes who are working hard to help develop an excellent service. We look forward to working with people on the autism spectrum their families and carers, and the professionals seeking advice and support, to continue to develop this service for the people of Powys as part of the new national service for Wales.”
More information about the development if Integrated Autism Services across Wales is available from the ASD Info Wales website at http://www.asdinfowales.co.uk