East Lothian Council has just launched a major consultation on its draft Autism Strategy. The council, on behalf of the East Lothian Partnership, is asking people affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their families, carers and the professionals and agencies that offer support to let the council know what they think. The council is aware of around 850 children and adults with ASD in the county at the moment.
The East Lothian Autism Strategy is the result of consultation with families, carers and professionals from health, the third sector and the local authority. It sets out the commitment of the East Lothian Partnership to supporting people with autism, their families and carers and shows how it is going to do this. The East Lothian Partnership wants to make sure that people:
- are supported to have choice and control over their lives so that they are able to have the same chosen level of privacy as other citizens
- have care and support that meets their needs and is based on their needs and wishes
- are supported to feel safe and secure without being over-protected
- have the opportunity to achieve all they can
- have access to information, assessment and services
It wants community partners (particularly health and social care) and communities to work together to redress inequalities and challenge discrimination. This work follows on, in part, from the national Scottish Strategy for Autism, launched by the Scottish Government in 2011. It states that strategic action needs to be taken nationally and locally. It looks at the impact of autism on the whole life experience of people and their families. It says that people need to be supported by a wide range of services such as social care, education, housing, employment and other community-based services and that a holistic, joined-up approach is necessary. They asked every community planning area in Scotland to come up with a local strategy.
Children’s Wellbeing and Education spokesperson Shamin Akhtar says: “The strategy looks at where things are working well in East Lothian and also at things that are not so good at the moment. We carried out a big mapping exercise and a number of consultations to make sure that we had good information about what needs to be done. We hope that as many people as possible who are impacted by ASD will read the draft strategy and let us know if they think we’ve got it right or if there are other things we need to look at too.”
If you would like to find out more or take part, go to: www.consultationeastlothian.co.uk
There are also drop-in sessions where we will be discussing the strategy and taking views and suggestions. These are on Tuesday 2nd December at:
12.15 – 2.15 Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar
5.15 – 7.00 Musselburgh East Community Learning Centre