Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has welcomed the governments new national autism strategy, having previous chaired inquiries on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism that has informed government.
Huw Merriman MP and Maria Caulfield MP previous chaired inquiries on autism and autism in education as part of their work on the APPG for Autism, and made a number of key recommendations to government that have now been implemented in the autism strategy for England.
Crucially this is the first autism strategy to include children. Following their important work on autism in education this is a huge win for the APPG on autism, Maria Caulfield MP, Huw Merriman MP and most importantly thousands of families with children on the autistic spectrum in education.
The National Autistic Society and Maria Caulfield MP successfully campaigned for this strategy to include children and young people. There are many new commitments as a result, including more training for teachers, a new anti-bullying programme in schools and making sure autistic young people can find supported internships and apprenticeships.
The strategy published today promises to:
• Invest £10.5 million into finding new ways to reduce diagnosis waiting times for children and young people
• Invest £2.5 million to improve the quality of adult diagnostic and post-diagnostic pathways and diagnosis waiting times
• Increase public understanding of autism with a long-term, nationwide initiative
• Provide £18.5 million to prevent autistic people from falling into mental health crisis and £21 million to local authorities to help people in mental health hospitals back into the community
• Improve understanding by training education professionals, job centre staff and frontline staff in the justice system.
Maria Caulfield MP said “I am proud that the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism and The National Autistic Society has brought about this significant National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults. Not only is it the first to consider children but it is also backed with more funding than ever before, with £75 million towards the first year. This funding will be put towards developing a public understanding campaign, reducing diagnosis waiting times and increasing crisis support in the community, among other things.”
“I will continue to ensure that the objectives of the strategy are met and will be speaking with ministers to ensure that the spending review includes further funding for the later years of the strategy.”