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Wiltshire Autism Strategy 2022 to 2027

Executive summary

This joint, all-age autism strategy is guided by a vision of an inclusive, vibrant, well-connected Wiltshire, in which children and young people with autism, and autistic adults, fulfil their potential, are actively involved and included in their communities, make informed decisions, have control over their lives, and can be valued and included within society.

Through consultation and co-production, we have identified six priorities and three enablers, and have set-out our success criteria. Underneath each of these priorities are actions which will move us closer to realising this vision.

Our six priorities

1. Improve health of autistic people and reduce health inequalities

Actions:

  • review access criteria for services to ensure support is needs-led, not diagnosis-led
  • redesign neurodevelopmental diagnostic pathways for children & young people in adherence with NICE guidance and timescales
  • following the national consultation process and development of code of practice, roll out Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training to all health and social care staff (including commissioned providers)
  • prioritise and evaluate annual health checks and action plans for autistic people
  • review accessibility of mental health provision for autistic adults and children and young people with autism, for example, by adapting IAPT services
  • learn from local Learning from Lives and Deaths. People with a Learning Disability and autistic people (LeDeR) reviews and report back via BSW
  • LDA Programme Board

2. Support children and young people (CYP) with autism to play, learn and move into adult life

Actions:

  • instill a safe, inclusive environment through leadership and commitment to inclusion
  • provide children, young people and parents with the right information at the earliest opportunity
  • roll out training for education staff and leaders - for example, through Autism Education Trust partnership
  • ensure schools and settings are designed, and strategies implemented, around the specific needs and wishes of pupils
  • develop a continuity of provision, so that education is flexible enough to adapt to a student's changing needs
  • ensure the perspectives and wishes of autistic young people are at the forefront of the Preparing for Adulthood Programme within the SEND strategy, and that planning starts early

3. Support autistic young people and adults to access work

Actions:

  • develop a SEND Employment Board in Wiltshire to bring together employers, job centres, education providers, local authorities, young people and families
  • raise awareness and provide guidance to employers and job centres, for example, the ACRE profiling tool
  • promote apprenticeships, Supported Internships and Traineeships within the Council and NHS
  • encourage organisations and businesses to be autism-inclusive and/or autism-accredited

4. Support autistic people to live independently in the community wherever possible

Actions:

  • ensure the perspectives and wishes of autistic people are captured in the implementation and evaluation of the Wiltshire Independent Living Strategy
  • all social care staff employed by commissioned providers should access PBS training if they are working with autistic people
  • all commissioned social care providers should provide staff with training around de-escalation, communication; and will be contractually required to tell commissioners/regulators about incidents of restraint and seclusion
  • assess the extent to which day opportunities provide more choice and control for autistic people
  • map the crisis pathways
  • develop training for staff to enable them to better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and autistic people who are experiencing a mental health crisis
  • use NHSE funding to develop key working function

5. Raise awareness of autism and make Wiltshire an inclusive place to live, learn and work

Actions:

  • celebrate and recognise the unique skills, attributes, achievements and perspectives of autistic people
  • hear the voice of autistic people around inclusion
  • champion guidance to address the sensory impact of buildings and transport
  • use campaigns such as National Autism Awareness Week to educate and inform
  • share best practice to encourage recognitions and behaviour change from non-autistic people
  • increase the number of people who have autism who are being employed by Wiltshire Council, Integrated Care Systems and other statutory services

6. Improve support for autistic people in the criminal justice system

Actions:

  • work with the Wiltshire Youth Commission to support, challenge and inform the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon and promote greater awareness and understanding of the needs of autistic people
  • develop community forensic assessment and treatment services in Wiltshire and Swindon
  • ensure that training is available for staff to give them the skills to support people who are in the criminal justice system
  • raise awareness of PREVENT and ensure that staff have training on this
  • establish robust working relationships between Wiltshire Council, Integrated care systems and the Police

Our three enablers 

How we will make thing happen:

  1. create positive and ongoing dialogue between autistic people and services.
  2. improve data collection and reporting to monitor implementation of the strategy and drive system improvement.
  3. strengthen governance, leadership, and accountability.

Our success criteria

How we will know we have been successful:

  • autistic people will feel included as citizens within their communities
  • autistic people and their families will get clear and timely information, whichever stage of their journey they are at
  • young people will be supported to be ready for an active and meaningful adult life, where they can live, work and build relationships in an inclusive society
  • Wiltshire will celebrate and share the skills, experiences and views of autistic people and their families
  • there will be a choice of high-quality accommodation and support to enable people to live independently; hospital admissions will be avoided wherever possible, but where hospital is required, discharge planning will start early
  • we will narrow the gap in health outcomes, so that autistic people will have the same access to prevention and healthcare

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