Cornwall Children's Autism Partnership
World Autism Week
26 March – 3 April 2018
Cornwall’s Children and Young People’s Autism Strategy
Cornwall’s Children and Young People’s Autism Strategy was written in 2016 following widespread consultation with children and young people, parents and carers and professionals. It sets our priorities for where we need to improve support for children and young people with autism spectrum conditions and their families.
Those working together to implement the strategy recognise that children and young people on the ‘autism spectrum’ may not have a diagnosis, may be waiting to be assessed or may have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition. However, it is important that regardless of a diagnosis their needs are understood and that they, and their families, feel supported.
A key focus of the strategy has been about increasing the autism awareness, knowledge and skills of professionals who work with children and young people, including staff working in early years settings, schools and colleges, health practitioners, early help and social care practitioners, as well as staff working in leisure and community settings. With greater awareness, knowledge and skills professionals are better able to support children, young people with an autism spectrum condition and their families to be more included in the full range of opportunities available to other children, young people and families.
Those working to implement the strategy have also been working to provide better information, advice and guidance for parents and carers to help them to support their children. The development of The Information Wheel will be launched in May 2018.
Some of the key achievements of the Children and Young People’s Autism Strategy so far have been:
- A wide range of training now available for all schools regarding supporting children with an autism spectrum condition
- More than 40 percent of secondary schools in Cornwall have already signed up to undertake an audit and further training in order for them to achieve ‘autism friendly’ status
- A pilot programme will be launched in summer 2018 to support young people on the spectrum who are 16+ and want to go to University to develop their skills and confidence in making this step
- The ‘Get Active’ website now provides information about how leisure services can support young people on the spectrum (including the use of communication passports)
- There will be a pilot of the new development of ‘autism friendly’ status for leisure and sports providers in summer 2018, which will then be offered to other providers in Cornwall
If you want to know more about the Children and Young People’s Autism Strategy or would like to contribute to it implementation please
Cornwall’s Children and Young People’s Autism Strategy
A Children and Young People’s Cornwall Autism Partnership has been established to oversee the implementation of the new Children’s and Young People’s Autism Strategy 2016-2019. The partnership aims to develop better support for children with autism in Cornwall.
Its vision is that Cornwall is a county committed to supporting children and young people with autistic spectrum conditions to achieve positive outcomes.
Children, young people and their families will be able to access services which meet their needs. Families will feel supported through the diagnostic pathway and will receive advice and signposting about the services which are available to them.
It meets quarterly and includes representatives from:
- Cornwall Council
- NHS provider services and commissioners
- Voluntary sector including The National Autistic Society
The Children’s and Young People’s Autism Strategy 2016-2019
The Children’s and Young People’s Autism Strategy 2016-2019 was written following wide-spread consultation with parents/carers, young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and professionals.
There are four key priority areas:
- Early Help and Social Care
- Leisure and Community
Below provides an update on work against the strategy priorities (May 2017):
- The Early Years Inclusion Service are piloting a programme similar to the Autism Champions in schools with the aim of building capacity within Early Years settings to meet the needs of children with Autism
- Since the strategy was finalised the Autism Spectrum Team (AST) has created packages for Primary and Secondary schools to use within assemblies or tutor time in order to raise the awareness of ASC amongst peers. This has been successfully trialled and the AST plan to share it more widely in the near future.
- The AST have also produced a Best Practice film for use with schools in Cornwall. This film will be used in schools during training and offered as part of a package alongside an audit tool.
- All secondary schools in Cornwall except one now have an Autism Champion (AC) and 80+ primary schools have an AC.
- Work is being undertaken with post 16 colleges in Cornwall with young people who are on the autism spectrum in order to ascertain where they feel the gaps in provision are in the colleges. It has been noted that life skills are not/or are rarely offered to those who undertake A Levels or Diplomas due to the assumption that they already hold life skills and work is being planned to address this gap
- The Lead for the Autism Diagnosis pathway is consulting with parents and carers of young people with ASC about where they are accessing information (e.g. on diagnosis, support etc). The information gathered will be used to help determine the information that will be added about Autism Spectrum Conditions to the Family Information Service website.
- A document that has been created by the ASD Assessment Team in Cornwall Foundation Trust for parents and carers about how to best explain to their child why they are being assessed and what the ASDAT assessment process is. It is given to parents when they are accepted on to the ASD assessment pathway.
- Health, Education and Social Care are jointly planning training for staff on ASC and Anxiety which will be running in June.
Early Help and Social Care
- Supporting Change In Partnership (SCIP) which is part of the Disabled Children and Therapy Service has been supporting a number of families with a child with an ASC.
- Dreadnought will continue to be funded to provide Aspires groups for children with young people with ASC
- Funding had been identified in order for Action For Children and Youth Workers to jointly receive training to raise their awareness of the needs of children with ASC
- Staff within the Disabled Children and Therapy Service (DCTS) have received raining on Sensory Integration needs of children with an ASC
Leisure and Community
- A website portal is now up and running which gives information about the sports and leisure opportunities open to children and young people with an ASC
- During May 2017 a number of leisure providers will receive training about children and young people with ASC. There will also be online training available for those that cannot attend in person.