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Written Statement - Launch of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan consultation

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

Today the Welsh Government is launching a consultation into the refreshed Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan.

We have achieved a great deal to raise awareness of autism and secure improvements to local services since the ASD Strategic Action Plan was published in 2008. The refreshed action plan builds on this success and recognises there is still more which needs to be done.

To demonstrate our commitment to improving autism services, the Welsh Government will develop a new all-age national integrated autism service for Wales, backed by £6m of Welsh Government funding over the next three years. This will be the first national autism service in the UK.

The new integrated service will be based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence best practice guidelines and will bring together existing neurodevelopmental teams within health boards providing diagnostic assessment and specialist interventions. It will expand adult diagnostic provision and, through the development of community support teams, will provide additional assistance providing behavioural advice, low-level support, access and signposting to community services and support programmes.  

This service will also offer advice and training for parents and carers to support them to continue in their important roles.

The integrated service will be rolled out across Wales over the next three years. As part of the implementation of the new service, we will be developing professional capacity and skills to enhance diagnostic assessment and post-diagnostic support. There will be a strong focus on multi-agency and multi-disciplinary working, ensuring access to joined-up services, including consistent assessment pathways for children, young people and adults.

We have recently published information about the delivery of the ASD Strategic Action Plan.

The Outcome Evaluation of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan for Wales 2008; A Summary of Stakeholder Consultation Response 2015 and an update on the ASD Interim Delivery Plan, all provide further information about achievements, stakeholder feedback and the priorities for future action.