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Helping people with autism live safe independent lives

Local council and health professionals are joining forces to look at ways of helping people with autism live safe independent lives.

Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group have published a joint strategy that outlines how, working with partner organisations in health and the voluntary and community sectors,  they will develop and improve services for adults and children with autism across the county.

The strategy highlights the need for improved diagnosis for people with autism.  It identifies a need for improved training for those who come into contact with people who have the condition and better support for families and carers.  The strategy also considers how people with autism can be helped to find employment, legal advice and suitable housing.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people.  It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.  It is a spectrum condition, which means that while people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.  It is estimated that nationally approximately one percent of the adult population has some form of autism.  In Herefordshire the number on the autism spectrum is estimated at just over 2,000 people.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want people living with autism to remain active in their communities and live as safely and independently as possible.  This joint strategy looks at how we can achieve this by supporting families and carers as well as helping people who have the condition access employment opportunities.

“We’ve already begun to address some of the aims in the strategy:  we’re working very closely with people who live with autism, their carers and all partner organisations to see how we can bring about some of the improvements we know are required.”