Integrated Autism Service

An Integrated Autism Service for Wales – What will it mean for me?

This week the Minister for Health and Social services announced an additional investment of £7 million to support the development of the Integrated Autism service for Wales. This takes the total funding for the service up to a total of £13 million.

Why are we developing an Integrated Autism Service?

Because autistic individuals, parents and carers told us they needed more support. They told us they can’t access services because they don’t meet the eligibility criteria. They told us they wanted support with:

  • Behaviour issues
  • Emotional issues such as anxiety and anger
  • Developing social and daily living skills
  • Accessing leisure and recreational activities

We learned that autistic adults and children and their family’s lives are severely affected because they can’t access the correct support, that many can’t leave the house on a daily basis and that parents and carers feel highly stressed.

We also heard that many adults who think they may have autism find it difficult to access an assessment for this.

What will the service provide?

The service will provide diagnostic assessment for autistic adults (sometimes jointly with other services), support and advice for children, adults and those who support them.

I am a parent of an autistic child – what will this mean for me?

The integrated autism service will support parents and carers by provide advice and support, signposting to other services and delivering programmes for young people. This will include support and advice to help manage difficulties such as:

  • Sleep problems
  • Issues with eating
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Anxiety
  • Developing social skills

Where needed, the service may also work with other staff involved with your child such as school staff or health visitors to make sure you and your child are given consistent support and advice.

Parents and carers will be able to self – refer to the service (we heard that needing professionals to refer you for support is not working for you).

I am an autistic adult – what will this mean for me?

You will be able to get support from the service without needing to be referred by someone else. Staff in the service will be able to provide you with support and advice in relation to

  • Anxiety
  • Social skills
  • Accessing leisure and recreational activities
  • Developing your daily living skills (such as paying bills, shopping and cooking)
  • Accessing other services such as healthcare or employment support
  • Or other difficulties with you may be experiencing

If you are an adult and think you have autism but don’t have a diagnosis, the service will be able to offer you an assessment for autism if you want it.

Will the service provide everything for us?

No, the service will not provide:

  • Emergency / crisis intervention
  • Respite care
  • Rapid response

For those with more complex needs (where other services such as mental health support is needed), staff from the integrated autism service will work with other professionals to ensure they are able to provide ‘autism-friendly’ support.

How has this worked in other places?

We do not believe there is an all age, National service anywhere else in the World. We are very excited about it. The Welsh Government have listened to what autistic individuals and their parents and carers told us they needed to improve their day to day lives and have invested the funding needed to deliver it.

We have another unique resource in Wales – our team! We are supporting the creation of the integrated autism service, developing new resources to help autistic individuals and parents / carers, and working hard to improve awareness and understanding of autism across Wales.

Why is it taking so long?

We need to get it right. We need to make sure that all services are working together. We need to make sure we have the right staff to support you. We need to make sure staff are trained to have the skills needed to support you.

Unfortunately, this takes time but please be assured that we are working as hard as we can to get the service ready for you. The service should be active across the whole of Wales by the end of the year.

How will I know when the service is open and how to access it?

We will keep you updated via our website www.ASDinfoWales.co.uk, and via Twitter and Facebook – ASDinfoWales. We will also make sure that schools, GPs and voluntary organisations are aware.

How can I access ASDinfoWales resources in the meantime?

Email us at ASDinfo@WLGA.gov.uk or inbox us on Facebook and Twitter, let us know what you need. We will try our best to get it to you.

Further information