a) What are your views on the effectiveness of the current arrangements for improving autism services in Wales?

Discussion was around FE having funding cut over the last few years which has impacted on level of support that can be provided such as 1:1 support.  HE appears to have sufficient funding.  Also a lack of provisions for life after college and there is not enough individuals with the necessary skills in the existing provisions, this can result in those individuals with ASD not reaching their full potential as they do not learn the necessary skills.

However, the new IAS regionally across Wales should make some improvements when it is up and running.

b) Do you believe Wales should have legislation requiring the Welsh Government to publish a national autism strategy for children and adults and issue guidance to local authorities and NHS bodies on implementing the strategy?

Having legislation will firm up arrangements in Wales for individuals with ASD, it will provide a consistent framework for regions to work towards.  However it is vitally important that the legislation be co-produced with parents/carers as well as agencies to ensure that it changes and improves the current situation.

c) To what degree of detail do you think the content of a national autism strategy should be defined in legislation?

The more detail the more consistency in regions, however the strategy will only be as good as the additional funding available to meet the requirements of the legislation.  If no additional funding is provided then other statutory services could potentially be affected.  There does appear to be a number of different legislations created which could have been combined such as all could have come under the SSWB Act, or the ASD bill could have been part of the Additional Learning Needs legislation.

d) What (if any) consultation do you think the Welsh Government should be required in legislation to undertake, when developing, reviewing and updating a national autism strategy?

Meaningful consultations need to take place with parents/carers/public services sector/voluntary sector for developing, reviewing and updating.  Consultation should not take place over school holidays etc to facilitate all to attend.

e) Do you believe that legislation should define how often a national autism strategy should be reviewed and updated? If so, how often should it be reviewed and updated?

Yes it should be reviewed and updated every 2-3 years and it is very important if there are provisions that are working well that the funding is not time limited and can be extended further.

f) Do you have any views on how Welsh Government should monitor what progress is being made and how public services should be held accountable for how they support autistic people and their families?

Welsh Government should monitor progress using the outcomes framework, it could form part of inspections.  Further support and guidance should be given to public services so that they are more aware.

g) What are your views on how easy it is to access a diagnostic assessment where you live?

The ASD pathway in NPT is school based. There is also a New ABMU ASD part of single neurodevelopmental pathway that is based on a scheme piloted by NPT last year.  Now the waiting time is just under 1 year for children.  For adults the Integrated Autism Service is being implemented in 2018, this should alleviate the pressure in this area.

h) What key challenges around how the diagnostic process works would you like legislation to address?

It was discussed whether legislation can resolve the challenges without additional funding etc.  Timeframes for diagnosis could be addressed, points of access, older children have more challenges if not diagnosed, post diagnostic support is also needed.

i) Do you believe that Local Health Boards and Local Authorities in Wales should be required to publish information on the pathway to diagnosis for children and adults living in their areas?

Yes, information on accessing and timeframes etc.

j) What are your views on the sufficiency of services currently provided to meet the needs of people with autism spectrum conditions in Wales?

Services are available for complex needs but not high end ASD or those that fall outside of criteria.  This is getting better for children in Wales but there still remains a gap in adulthood.  More support is needed for social and living skills targeted at older children for when they reach adulthood and to help them lead as independently as possible.  A prevention model may be more effective in local authorities.  Work opportunities are limited for individuals with ASD which impacts on their ability to contribute to society and their own wellbeing. 

k) The legislation I am proposing would require the Welsh Government to issue statutory guidance that would put duties on local authorities and Local Health

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