Join the Autism Partnership Board
Following approval of the All Age Autism Strategy we are inviting expressions of interest from individuals with autism and family/carer representatives to be members of the Autism Partnership Board, Warwickshire and the Autism Local Implementation Team (LIT), Coventry. Membership on each board is open to residents living in that area.
Warwickshire and Coventry Councils are working in partnership to implement the strategy and both of these groups will oversee and support the delivery plan.
The key aim of the Board is to ensure that the priorities of the autism Strategy ‘Fulfilling and rewarding Lives’ are delivered working together to improve the quality of lives of people with autism.
This is a fantastic opportunity for people who really want to engage in the future of individuals with autism. We are looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals to support this work.
Below are a number of key roles of members:
- To meet with customers and carers to seek views and opinions about services
- To seek views and opinions of people with autism about progress on action plans
- Help make information from partners accessible for people with autism
- Take part in selecting new board members
Warwickshire is planning that meetings will take place four times a year with sub groups for work streams – venues and locations will be confirmed once membership has been agreed.
Coventry meetings take place bi-monthly in Coventry City Centre and we are also seeking interest from individuals with autism or a family/carer representative for co-chair. If you would like to be considered for role of co-chair please indicate on the application form (DOCX, 235.24 KB).
Warwickshire All-Age Autism Strategy Consultation – Results of Consultation
On Thursday 8 May 2014, Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet approved the new all-Age Autism strategy (2014–2017) and the associated action plan for its delivery.
Warwickshire are committed to commissioning high quality autism services and working with partner organisations to improve the lives and opportunities for children, young people and adults with autism. In order to achieve this, this three-year local strategy has been created with involvement and engagement from a wide range of people, including children and adults with autism and their families. Its purpose is to provide a clear plan for support in Warwickshire and identify objectives and actions, which reflect the local needs of people with autism whatever their age.
This strategy meets the council’s statutory requirement as outlined in the Autism Act 2009 and the national Adult Autism Strategy, ‘Rewarding and Full Filling Lives’ 2010 which places a legal duty on all local authorities to develop and implement a local autism plan in partnership with health.
It provides a clear and consistent joined up approach to support throughout a person’s life. It also highlights the importance of personalised services and support offering individual’s more choice and control, with a particular emphasis on a clear plan and support when moving from children’s to adult’s services.
A co-productive approach has been adopted to shape and influence this strategy, a two phased consultation process was vital in order to initially gather people’s views on different areas of a person’s life and then undertake a ‘checking exercise’ for respondents to confirm accurate interpretation of these views as well as sharing future commissioning intentions.
A local autism needs assessment has been completed providing an analysis of the predominantly quantitative data, available locally and partners’ systems along with the publicly available information on autism at a national and local level. This supplements the qualitative information and insight gained from the consultation and together provides the most informed and accurate picture of autism in Warwickshire to date.
There is recognition that we do not have a comprehensive picture of the autism population in Warwickshire and this will be addressed through the implementation of this strategy.
Autism Partnership Board
Following cabinet endorsement of the strategy, an Autism Partnership Board will be developed, (a multi-agency group) including people with autism and their families. This board’s primary role and purpose will be to implement, monitor and track progress of the strategy & ensuring that progress is reviewed and updates provided to the board on a regular basis.
It is envisaged that there will also be a number of small sub-groups formed, whose role will focus on working on completing key actions for each of the seven strategic objectives outlined in the delivery plan. These subgroups will be required to provide regular feedback to the Autism Partnership Board on the progress of the delivery plan. Membership of these subgroups will include people with autism and family & parent carers as well as professionals from a range of different service areas and organisations.
Further details on the development of the Autism Partnership Board, including details on the recruitment and selection process will be available shortly.
The new strategy has 7 key strategic objectives, which look at the delivery of the strategy while bearing in mind the savings required from Warwickshire’s One Organisational Plan. The 7 key strategic objectives from the strategy are:
1. To develop a clear & consistent pathway including offer of support following diagnosis – This will support adults with autism to be diagnosed locally and offer support to people with autism and their families following diagnosis.
2. To increasing awareness and understanding of autism – Through training front line staff and professionals within local organisations and communities to have a greater understanding of autism, which will in-turn improve societal attitudes towards autism and promote a more positive image of autism and associated spectrum conditions.
3. Education, Learning & Employment – Provides a consistent, joined-up, approach to supporting people with autism to have positive experiences through increased access to education, learning and employment opportunities.
4. Transition into Adulthood – Looking at how services respond to young people with autism moving between children-focused to adult-focused services of support.
5. Access to Services and Support – Will focus on how people on the autistic spectrum can access both specialist and mainstream services that meet their care and support needs.
6. Community Life (Social Inclusion, Housing support and Keeping Safe) – This will focus on continued work with the voluntary and community sector to explore ways for local autism social and support groups to be further developed and to increasing publicity around the Safer Places Scheme and Autism Attention Cards to ensure everyone with autism are aware of these existing services.
7. Supporting carers and families of people with autism – This will part-focus on delivery of objectives from the Carers Strategy while looking at the commissioning of Short Breaks services for people able to self-fund and to explore and maximise all opportunities for co-production by the carers of people with autism.
Find out more about the all-age autism strategy on the Warwickshire Website: Warwickshire all-age autism strategy
Autism alert card
The Attention Card is aimed at individuals who are likely to be out in the community on their own.
Autism West Midlands have developed the Attention Card in partnership with police services across the West Midlands. It has space on the back to include the contact details of a trusted person. In stressful situations professionals are able to contact this person. Cards are only issued from the age of 11 (when a child begins secondary school). If your child is younger than this small cards will be sent out indicating that they have autism, and what this means. For further information or clarification please call the helpline on 0303 03 00 111.
If you or someone you know needs to carry this card, you can apply for one online. Just complete the form and your card will be with you within 3 weeks (usually sooner).
To apply for an Attention Card or for more information:
- Contact the Autism West Midlands helpline on 0303 0300111
- Complete a form online at www.autismwestmidlands.org.uk/helpadvice/attention_card_form
Who can access the service?
You can apply for support from the team if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You must be 18 years or older
- You must live in Warwickshire
- You should have a diagnosis of autism, an autism spectrum condition, Asperger syndrome or been told you have ‘autistic traits’.
- You must meet the Adult Social Care Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) Criteria.
If you are not eligible for help from us, we can give you information about other organisations that might be able to help you.
What does adult autism and asperger service do?
The Adult Autism and Asperger Team will assess your social care needs and support and signpost you to access the following:
Things we can support with
- Accessing employment and learning opportunities
- Housing related needs
- Accessing social activities and building social networks
- Referrals to adult health services
- Developing independent living skills
- Developing a daily routine
- A carer’s assessment
- Accessing appropriate benefits
- Help to avoid bullying or abuse
Things we can’t support with:
- We can’t diagnose you
- Counselling or therapy
- A mental health emergency
- A medical emergency
Some of the support that we can provide might cost you money. You will have a financial assessment to see if you need to contribute.
How do I access the service?
Warwickshire All-Age Autism Strategy consultation – Phase 1
Please Note: Phase 1 of the All-Age Autism Strategy consultation is now closed.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete one of our surveys, we received back:
- 268 completed Adult Surveys;
- 75 surveys completed by people under the age of 16; and
- In addition to these, 11 schools across Coventry and Warwickshire took part in our highly-innovative Creative Consultation Process.
Respondents were asked to express an interest in being further involved in co-producing and monitoring delivery of the Strategy and we received 121 responses.
Children and young people who face barriers with both written and verbal communication can sometimes be “unheard” by more traditional approaches, such as questionnaires and focus groups. We looked for a method of engaging that did not rely totally on language to articulate thought, aspirations and experiences.
In a first for the development of an autism strategy, we commissioned an artist to deliver workshops in 11 non-mainstream schools and further education colleges, working with the overarching question of “what’s important to me?” The workshops explored key aspects of a person’s life, including education, transitions to adulthood, diagnosis and post-diagnosis support.
An immediate challenge was to find an experienced artist, who was confident in their own medium, but also able to extrapolate, interpret and evaluate the information generated to ensure it influenced our strategy.
We wrote a comprehensive artist brief, which was circulated countywide and requested more than 130 times. We received 18 completed applications from artists and four shortlisted candidates were interviewed. The appointed artist, Janetka Platun, had a specific interest in this area of work, having previously completed a comparable project for the Scottish Arts Council.
In total, the artist worked with 147 children and young people, using a wooden mannequin and an array of materials to create a visual “story” or picture that was then photographed.
She used this as the visual prompt to explore this story further. Participants could talk to her about the image as it was personal and unique to them, and the interaction didn’t rely on the social cues of direct conversation which some people with autism struggle with.
Each school and college received an individual and collated report detailing the themes of the artistic consultation session, artwork and quotes from the participants.
A further challenge has been managing the expectations of colleagues and the participating schools and colleges. This was not about measuring the quality of the finished artwork, it was about offering a process that enabled and supported the different ways in which people communicate, without being language-driven.
In comparison to the 147 participants of the creative consultation, we received 75 responses to the online questionnaire, which explored the same areas, specifically targeted at young people 16 and under.
The creative consultation enabled us to reach and consult with more than double the number of young people than if we had been using the questionnaire alone. It ensured their views and aspirations were heard and highlighted the benefits of offering a diverse range of consultative approaches.
Our success challenges the assumptions that people who face barriers with communication cannot be meaningfully engaged, and fully participate, in expressing their views.
What Adults Told Us
- Diagnosis should be accessible and a smooth process, with the right support throughout and after diagnosis. Also highlighted was the need for improved training and awareness of autism.
- Educational opportunities should include social skills training and be flexible and adaptable to the needs of students with autism, and again have a smooth process for moving between schools and colleges.
- The transitions process, moving from children’s to adult services should be smoother, with clear assessments and plans with the involvement of family and support networks, with Organisations working in partnership
- There should be increased awareness and understanding of autism in the community and within organisations/professionals. Awareness training in schools was highlighted as way of improving this.
- There should be opportunities for people with autism and their carers to be involved in developing services and support, be able to access services effectively and have increased independence.
- Social and support networks, like peer and mentoring schemes should be developed and that people with autism should not face barriers to social inclusion, with training in life and social skills and increased awareness and understanding should be implemented
- There should be increased opportunities and support for people with autism to enter and remain in the workplace with training and awareness raising for employers being strongly noted.
- Housing and accommodation should be flexible and people offered support and advice to ensure they are able to choose the right options for them, with respondents noting that increased support for families to continue to support people within the family home, and having more accessible information available was required
- People with autism should be safe from abuse and be aware of and able to use local resources and projects to keep safe, with again increased awareness and understanding being highlighted as a need, especially within Emergency services
What Children and Young People Told Us
- A need for access to good information and to understand autism, and for families to understand autism
- Having good support to move through significant events, like changing schools, transitions and ensuring there are clear care plans in place
- An increased need for better awareness and understanding of autism to stop bullying in schools and colleges, this was a strong theme.
- Having autism means for many children and young people that they don’t go out socially with anyone other than close family.