National and Local Context
The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan for Wales was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in April 2008, which was the first time that guidelines specific to Autism and Asperger Syndrome were set out for local agencies. The purpose of the Strategic Action Plan was to set a clear direction of travel for the development of services in Wales by ensuring that specific and measurable actions were undertaken and, on the basis of evidence of prevalence and need, commissioning inter agency services at local, regional or national levels were undertaken as appropriate. The Action Plan also aims to broaden the understanding of ASD and its prevalence in Wales.
One of the key actions in the Strategic Action Plan is that:
Children & Young People’s Framework Partnerships and Local Health Social Care and Well Being Strategic Partnerships should support the establishment of an ASD co-ordinating group in each local area. This group should be multi-agency, including service users and carers, and inform and support agreed cross-agency approaches to strategic planning for and commissioning of services for people with an ASD.
The strategic action plan sets out how services for people with Autism are delivered in Wales, and contains specific actions on the needs of adults with Autism.
- Download the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan for Wales (external link)
- Download Information about the ASD Strategic Action Plan (external link)
An ASD Task and Finish Group has been established in Wrexham in order to:
- coordinate a multi-agency group of professionals from all relevant agencies to lead the development of ASD services in Wrexham
- advise and inform the Children and Young People’s Framework Partnership via the Healthy & Active Strategic Coordinating Group (SCoG) on the development of a Strategic Framework for ASD in Wrexham and ASD service developments and progress
Areas for development will include:
- Awareness raising
- Support (parents; families; professionals)
- Identification & Assessment
- Service user participation
- Audit of provision/gaps
- Resources (current/future)
- Links to other groups/strategies
- Quality standards & NSF
- Joint Commissioning
- Multi agency care pathways development
Wrexham County Borough Council welcome the Strategic Action Plan and has recently developed a Wrexham Strategic Framework for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) which aims to meet the needs of children, young people and adults with ASD and their families by bringing together professionals from Health, Education, Housing, Youth Justice, Careers Wales, Social Care and the Voluntary Sector, in conjunction with Autism Cymru and the National Autistic Society.
We aim to further develop the good practice in the field of Autism that already exists in Wrexham across and between agencies and to pull together local expertise and knowledge in developing a joined up seamless and coordinated approach to service delivery for children and young people with an ASD. Therefore as part of the Strategic Framework a three year development plan has been devised, drawing upon national and local best practice and setting out the prioritised actions for multi-agency service development and improvement in Wrexham.
Objectives of Wrexham Strategic Framework for ASD:
- To provide training to professionals working in education, health and social services settings to raise awareness of the issues/needs of children and young people with an ASD and their families
- To plan for the identification, assessment, diagnosis and access to early interventions for Wrexham children and young people with an ASD
- To coordinate and promote early intervention strategies in service planning and to develop care pathways to ensure that children and young people’s needs are met at an early stage
- To understand in detail the level and range of need in relation to ASD within Wrexham so as to better plan and target services where required
- To implement a three year development plan for ASD in Wrexham which is in line with the All Wales Strategic Action Plan and draws upon national and local best practice and sets out the prioritised actions for multi-agency service development and improvement
- To identify the range of ASD training opportunities required to provide better services to children, young people and adults with an ASD and their families.
Strategic Framework for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Wrexham
Research has been conducted by a task and finish group, in collaboration with parents and professionals with experience and knowledge of ASD. Overall it was felt that information was not readily available to parents and that training was very important for all working with children, young people and adults with an ASD, in particular support workers. Some parents reported that they had experienced a lack of understanding and knowledge of ASD generally and strongly felt that awareness raising was needed within the wider community and services that individuals come into contact with regularly. These findings echo national studies which also suggest that the lives of children and adults with ASD may only improve if society has a better understanding of their condition. Raising awareness and understanding of ASD is one of the key elements in ensuring that each individual’s needs are fully identified and assessed.
This information has been added to the development plan in Wrexham and the following steps demonstrate some of the actions that are currently under way:
- Arrangements have been put in place to raise awareness of ASD, local awareness raising events have been planned and advertising campaigns are underway.
- Identification of gaps in training for professionals, support/care staff, children, young people, individuals with ASD and parents, culminating in a training strategy.
- Development of a service directory for ASD support and information.
- Launch of the Wrexham ASD information website during the ASD awareness raising event on October 1st 2009.
- Planning is underway to hold an ASD informative family fun day.