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Welsh govt announces new autism care strategy

Tuesday 6th December 2016
Speech therapists will have an important role in the Welsh governments new autism strategy. Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
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Speech therapists may have a key role to play in helping to implement the Welsh government's newly-announced Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan.

A total of £6 million is being spent on improving autism diagnostic services throughout the country over the coming three years, with a brand new strategy in place to encourage faster diagnosis of the condition in young people, allowing them to begin accessing the best support for their individual needs.

For example, children who are on the autistic spectrum often struggle to communicate, meaning they would benefit significantly from speech therapist intervention to help them to better integrate in social situations.

With this in mind, the Welsh government is working to introduce a greater level of support for the families and carers of individuals with autism, alongside launching new adult diagnostic services for the condition and improving the training given to healthcare professionals on how to deal with autistic patients.

In addition, the country's government plans to provide enhanced support to people with autism and their loved ones when they are transitioning from provision services aimed at children to those designed for supporting adults in order to make the changeover process as smooth and non-disruptive as possible.

Meleri Thomas of the National Autistic Society Cymru commented: "The Welsh government's new autism strategy includes promising new actions designed to bring down waiting times for diagnosis across Wales. But it stops short of introducing new autism legislation that we believe can help to make this happen."

The organisation is calling on the government to make these measures official with the introduction of new formal legislation. In the meantime, healthcare professionals from doctors and nurses to speech therapists and physiotherapists need to make sure they are doing their bit to make the world easier to navigate for people who fall onto the autistic spectrum.

Written by Martin Lambert

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