Significant strides have been made in helping victims of autism in Wales, says Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services....
"For the first time ever a local, regional, and national infrastructure for Autism is now in place. Locally there are 22 identified ASD leads, who are now a point of contact for families and professionals at a local level.
"We have engaged fully with stakeholders and have 22 stakeholder groups feeding into this process, plus a national stakeholder group, and as a consequence every local authority area now has a published ASD Action Plan.
"A four strong regional support team based within the Social Services Improvement agency (SSIA) has provided support and regional planning to the 22 ASD leads, resulting in a total of no less than 22 brand new autism projects starting this year.
"These projects involved local authorities working together, often in partnership with the NHS and voluntary sector, to deliver projects which directly benefit children and adults with autism."
Don't get too cheerful. From YourCanterbury:
Shocking accounts from parents of autistic children have revealed how lack of Government support has led to their youngsters developing mental health problems.
And figures published by the National Autistic Society (NAS) have shown how 70 per cent of children with autism – a lifelong developmental disability – have mental health problems which could have been prevented.
A report by the organisation found that in many cases this was dismissed by the NHS as an unavoidable side effect of having autism, despite it not being a mental health condition.
Mark Lever, chief executive of NAS, said the NHS offers “inappropriate, ineffectual and sometimes harmful treatments” and called on the new Government to prioritise the problem.