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New strategy to help people with autism
A NEW approach to help adults with autism, their carers and families has been agreed by Hampshire County Council.
The aim of the new strategy is to give people with lifelong conditions the same opportunities to live a fulfilling and rewarding life as everyone else.
Developed by the Hampshire Autism Partnership Board, which is a partnership between the county council, NHS Hampshire, the voluntary sector, people with autism, parents, carers and professionals who work with people with autism, the first part of the strategy is aimed at adults, and the second, planned for 2013, will benefit children. It was developed following a two-year public consultation.
More than half a million people in the UK are estimated to have autism, and about 10,000 of them live in Hampshire.
The council hopes that the strategy will improve access to health services, suitable accommodation, work, education and training, plus help to include autistic people in community life and develop a clearer route to and from an autism diagnosis. It also focuses on supporting carers and their families and increasing autism awareness among GPs.
The aims will be achieved through partnership work between health and social care agencies, voluntary and other public and private organisations.
Councillor Felicity Hindson, the county’s executive member for adult social care, said: “Autism is a life-long hidden disability that affects the way someone communicates with and relates to other people, and the world around them.
“I want to ensure we do everything we can to help people with autism live their lives as they wish, as well as making a positive difference.”
Luke Syddall, from Hampshire Autism Voice, said: “It was our intention to put people on the autism spectrum and their families at the forefront of the strategy’s developments.
“We will continue with this aim to enable people with autism to feel more included in society and just as valued as others, which they do so much deserve.
“Our strategy clearly shows Hamp-shire’s commitment and desire to improve the lives of adults on the autism spectrum and their families.”
The strategy will formally launch on November 5, and covers all those with an autism spectrum condition, including Asperger’s and high-functioning autism.