â€œNearly a decade on [from the Autism Act] the needs of autistic people are still unmetâ€, according to theÂ report of the National Autism Project, published today.
The report finds that most current policy and practice is not supported by good quality evidence of benefit and cost-effectiveness. This leads to a loss of opportunities to substantially improve quality of life for autistic children and adults and their families whilst also potentially reducing costs. â€œA great deal more could and should be done to generate evidence to shape policy and improve practice in autism.â€, the report argues.
The National Autism Project, funded byÂ The Shirley Foundation, has been bringing together â€œevidence on what works well for autistic people and what makes economic senseâ€. The report calls for urgent investment in good quality research focused on filling gaps in our knowledge of which types of support are most effective by asking questions such as:
The projectâ€™s research, carried out by a team at the London School of Economics and Political Science, analysed existing evidence on a wide range of possible â€˜interventionsâ€™ for autistic children and adults including: screening and diagnostic assessment; early interventions; social skills programmes; parent training and support: CBT for anxiety; employment support; health checks; personalised care and support (including personal budgets and circles of support); assistive and adaptive technologies; anti-stigma and anti-bullying work, and medication.
Many of the reportâ€™s policy recommendations, which were refined during workshops held in each of the four nations, are relevant to social care. They include:
Overall, the National Autism Project report argues that â€œbetter informed decision making and wiser allocation of resourcesâ€ could reduce the negative personal, social and economic consequences of â€œthe cumulative disadvantages experienced by many autistic people over their livesâ€ and lead to an â€œautism dividendâ€.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45