Dorset starts county-wide support for autism sufferers
Dorset health professionals have developed a strategy to improve support for people suffering with autism across the county.
Representatives from over 30 organisations put together a plan for a county-wide strategy - addressing a range of needs.
The strategy covers all people who have an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), but has a particular focus on people with Asperger's Syndrome.
Debbie Ward, Director for Adult and Community Services at Dorset County Council, said: "The National Autism Act 2009 was passed in response to increasing evidence that people with autism suffer social and economic exclusion. Only 15 per cent of adults have jobs and 49 per cent of adults live with and are dependent on their parents.
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"It is estimated that there may be over 6,000 adults with autism in Dorset, and the local strategy gives us a focus for how we can improve services in the county by working collaboratively and hollistically and ensure people with autism have a strong influence in how services develop in the future.
"The launch event gave us an excellent opportunity to explore how we can improve prospects for people with autism and make services more user-friendly."
Key points of the strategy include raising awareness and uverstanding of autism, improving access to diagnosis and supporting individuals to live individually and within the community with specialist housing and employment support.
The strategy is supported by an action plan which will be monitored and reviewed by the new Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth ASC Partnership Board.
Elaine Hurl from NHS Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset said: "In the strategy we are aiming to make sure that where possible all outcomes are improved for people with an ASC and this can be achieved to a large extent by everyone being more aware of Autistic Spectrum Conditions and the impact on the person as well as services responding promptly and appropriately to people's needs."