I have written numerous letters to our local MP as well the chief exec. of the local NHS trusts among others regarding the lack of services for adults with ASD in our district.Rother has a population nearly 100.000. Autism Specialists (or even trained) Counselor, therapist on the National Health Service: 0,zero, nil. Neurobehavioural Specialist, psychologist who is certified in providing ‘official’ proper diagnosis:0,zero, nil. The nearest available service is a one hour trip on the train each way. The waiting time for diagnosis is ONE whole 1 year. (it use to be 2 Two Years till about six month ago.) So things had to change. If the situation weren’t so dire I would probably not have had bothered getting an official diagnosis. – I self-diagnosed in 2003 and read every book on the planet about Asperger’s since then. – However, I thought a piece of paper from a qualified professional might give more weight to my plea for help. Perhaps it did, because my diagnostic appointment date arrived within four months. There must be many more people, who like me, have been pushing for action because the National Autistic Society (a UK charity) sent me some really positive news.(in text below)
I am currently working on a project with Autism Sussex that offers job coaching, support and real life work placement experience for Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome in my district. It won’t be easy due to the shortage of local employers this being a heavily residential area with an aging population. Unemployment is a real problem around here and even low paid and unskilled job postings receive dozens of applicants. Many (way too many) of the long term unemployed are on the Autism Spectrum and receive no help or support of any kind. The first real step for our project is to find those most in need of our services, now that funding might actually be forthcoming. Thanks for reading!
Here is the text from an email I received from the NAS
“Last Tuesday, we celebrated some great news for people with autism and their families.
Thanks to campaigners like you getting behind Push for Action over the last 11 months, the Government has launched Think Autism, a new initiative to end the wait for everyday support. In fact, at its launch, the Minister specifically cited the tenacity and passion of Push for Action campaigners as a reason for why he agreed to our case for change.
One of the headline ‘wins’ is that, for the first time, money has been ring-fenced specifically for the autism strategy. £4.5 million will go towards a new awareness programme to improve understanding and ‘autism-friendliness’ in the community, as well as into an ‘innovation fund’ to for local areas to develop new service models for adults with autism.
Crucially, Push for Action has led to unlocking barriers councils and the NHS face in ending the wait for support. We know it will only make a difference to people with autism and their families if these bodies now take action, so we will be in touch soon about how the campaign will continue in East Sussex.
In the meantime, we are concerned about how the Government intends to decide who qualifies for care and support. When it comes to areas like everyday life, meeting new people and staying safe, the proposed changes to the social care system threaten to overlook the specific needs of adults with autism. “
Read more about the work of the NAS: http://www.autism.org.uk/