Autism has been the subject of a number of initiatives over the past decade. Considerable efforts have been made to improve diagnosis and assessment, to create consistent service standards, to match resources to need and to underpin this with appropriate research and training opportunities. These significant contributions now need to be harnessed into the development of a national ten year autism strategy, which addresses the entire autism spectrum and the whole lifespan of people living with ASD in Scotland.
The Scottish Government, working in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the two national autism organisations, a wide range of service users and professionals, has spoken to individuals on the spectrum and their families to hear at first hand what their concerns are and what changes are needed. We will continue to work in this way as we make progress together. A draft autism strategy was consulted on widely. Its recommendations are far-reaching and will impact upon all professions, across all disciplines involved in the provision of public services. The recommendations need to be put into effect as soon as practically possible.
In November 2012 the Scottish Government held a conference, which marked the one year anniversary of the launch of the Strategy. The conference was organised to disseminate and exchange knowledge around the work to date of the Autism Reference Group and its 6 working Sub-groups. Additionally, this represented an opportunity to consider the geographical and thematic range of the 53 local and national projects funded through the Autism Development Fund. Full copy of the final report from the conference can be accessed here.