County council launches new plan to help improve lives of those with autism

PEOPLE with autism are set to benefit from a new plan aimed at improving their lives.

East Sussex County Council’s Autism Plan has been launched to offer information and support for adults with autism and raise awareness of the condition.

It includes new online resources, support groups, training for staff and a scheme to boost the employment prospects of individuals with autism.

Keith Hinkley, the county council’s director of adult social care, said: “We want people with autism to be able to build their confidence, boost their independence and job prospects, have more choice and control over the support they receive and feel more connected with the wider community.

“The aim of the Autism Plan for East Sussex is to bring together all the work around autism and to make sure we take a co-ordinated approach.

“It’s important that local businesses and public services ensure their staff are aware of the barriers people with autism face so they can provide a better service to these people, and the free online training and resources will make achieving this much easier.”

A new autism section on the county council’s website offering information, advice and support at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/adultautism has been set up.

There is also free online training to help people working in businesses and public services understand more about autism and training courses for staff working in social care organisations. Log onto www.eastsussex.gov.uk/socialcare/disability/autism/training.

The plan also includes a free booklet entitled Understanding Me – Autism, available from the county council’s website website or by emailing autism.adults@eastsussex.gov.uk.

A new autism and Asperger online forum has been set up, run by Autism Sussex at www.asfamilysupport.org.uk/messageboard.

An Autism Partnership Board has been created with members of the board including representatives of people with autism and carers, provider and carer organisations and council officers.

People can get in touch with the board by emailing autism.adults@eastsussex.gov.uk or writing to Autism Partnership Board, B Floor, North Block, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, Lewes, BN7 1UE.