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The ​government's autism strategy has been extended to cover children and young people

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The government has announced an extension of the review of its autism strategy to cover children and young people, as well as adults. The review will inform the new joint adults and children autism strategy to be published in autumn 2019. As part of the review, the government will collect evidence from autistic children and adults, families, carers and professionals on how to improve services and support.

The review is looking at:

  • joining up health, care and education services to address autistic children's needs holistically,
  • developing diagnostic services to diagnose autism earlier, in line with clinical guidance,
  • improving the transition between children and adult services so that no young people miss out, and ending inappropriate reliance on inpatient hospital care and
  • improving understanding of autism and all its profiles, including recently identified forms such as pathological demand avoidance (PDA).

Further details are available here.

The government has also responded to the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism and the National Autistic Society - Autism and Education in England 2017. Their response outlines a range of activities to develop materials and train staff, including:

  • Enhancing the package of support available for newly qualified teachers at the start of their careers to enable them to support all pupils in their classrooms, including those with SEND. Further details are due to be announced in early 2019.
  • Details on existing and ongoing funding for a range of projects, including a new £3.4 million two year contract on behalf of the Whole School SEND Consortium to embed SEND within approaches to school improvement and to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of SEND.
  • A planned external board with the Department for Health and Social care and NHS England that will focus on effective commissioning and share tools, good practice and guidelines across the SEND system.
  • From December 2018, Ofsted and CQC will be revisiting the local areas that were asked to provide 'written statements of action' following their inspection. This will identify where further work is needed, and enable local areas to demonstrate the improvements they have made in delivering better outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
First published 07 December 2018