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Home » Get Involved » Consultations/engagement » Closed consultations » All Age Autism strategy proposal » All Age Autism Strategy - Summary

All Age Autism Strategy 2021 – 2026 summary

This a web version of the summary for the All Age Autism Strategy consultation. You can also download a PDF version of the summary.

What is the all age autism strategy?

This five-year (2021-2026) All Age Autism Strategy supports our aim for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be an autism friendly place where children and adults with autism can live full, healthy, and rewarding lives, within a society that accepts and understands them.

Our vision is for both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be recognised as autism friendly places to live, where people with autism of all ages have access to equal opportunities.

Autism friendly services throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are those that are person centred and take into consideration each person’s strengths, talents, and interests; thereby ensuring that all individuals have access to the same support throughout their lifetime.

This includes working together as partners to deliver services in a more inclusive, integrated way that puts the needs of people with autism, and their families first, providing help, support and care informed by an understanding of what matters to each person with autism and their family. 

Why an autism strategy?

The national guidance “Implementing and Rewarding Lives” and “Think Autism” puts a statutory duty on local authorities and health services to have in place plans in relation to the provision of service for people with autism. 

It states that local authorities and NHS bodies need to work in collaboration with local partners to take forward the key priorities in Think Autism.

Crucially, at its core, people with autism need to have access to a clear pathway to meet their needs and know that this pathway is aligned with care and support assessments, and that there is post-diagnostic support available from relevant agencies   even if the person does not meet social care support criteria.

It is therefore vital there is a local autism strategy that works for both children, young people and adults which clearly set out our goals and priorities for the next five years.

Why are we consulting with you on the autism strategy?

This All Age Strategy for people with autism in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was co-produced with parents, carer’s, and people with lived experience of autism as well as all local partners. It has been co-produced in partnership with people with autism and their families across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; we have sought to capture their lived experiences and what is most important to them. 

This All Age Strategy for people with autism in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was co-produced with parents, carer’s, and people with lived experience of autism as well as all local partners:

  • Family Voice Peterborough
  • Pinpoint
  • National Autistic Society, Cambridge Branch
  • The Speak Out Council
  • Voiceability
  • Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • The Autism Centre for Excellence
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundations Trust
  • Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.

The All Age Autism Strategic Group wants to take time now to ensure that this co-produced strategy meets the needs of all people with Autism across our area and gain the views of local people on the principles and priorities identified by the group and the partners that worked alongside them to co-produce this strategy.

What is autism?

In this strategy we use the term Autism to refer to the whole autism spectrum and the strategy recognises that autism is one of a wider range of neurodiverse conditions.

Autism is a term used to describe a group of lifelong neurodevelopmental conditions marked by how a person with autism interacts socially, how they communicate and patterns of restricted stereotyped or repetitive behaviour they may have. It is a lifelong neurological condition: people are born with it, do not grow out of it and it cannot be ‘cured’. It is a spectrum condition which means it presents differently in every person with autism. 

While people with autism may share common traits, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Each person with autism will, as with all individuals, have a distinct set of strengths and weaknesses and so the ways in which people with autism learn, think, and problem-solve can be wide-ranging. It’s important that we remember we all remain unique. 

Autism is not a learning disability/difficulty or a mental illness. People with autism may also have additional needs including learning disabilities, physical health needs and/or mental health conditions; these are referred to co-occurring conditions. 

What are the principles in the all age autism strategy?

The following principles were developed in collaboration with key local groups who represent people with lived experience of autism of all ages.

  • All age approach: Promoting an all age approach for people with autism; focused on progression across a whole life pathway, ensuring that all the traditional transition points in a person's life are effectively managed and seamless.
  • Person centred: Ensuring that people with autism and their families/carers are at the centre of everything we do, while offering services and support for people with autism that focuses on their strengths.
  • Right support, right time, right place: Providing the right support at the right time and in the right place by working with key partners to enable better access to, and better experiences of Education, Health, training and work.
  • Early intervention: Providing early access to quality, timely and relevant information, advice and intervention in line with statutory guidance and prevention agenda across children's and adult's services, supporting and enabling those on the journey to diagnosis.
  • Outcomes focused: Using the resources available from public and voluntary services in the most efficient ways to improve outcomes for autistic people and their families.
  • Right to respect: Ensuring that children, young people and adults have a right to live free from abuse in accordance with the principles of respecting dignity, autonomy, privacy & equality.
  • Integration: Commissioning services that promote integration with Health and Sodai Care whenever possible to develop a shared understanding of the needs of people with autism.
  • Co-production: Involving people with autism and their families in planning and decision making at both strategic and operational levels; gaining regular feedback from individual's experiences to help shape how services are delivered.
  • Shared responsibility:  Accepting a shared responsibility for achieving positive, jointly agreed outcomes and effectively sharing information to inform the strategic direction of service delivery (in accordance with relevant guidance & legislation).

What is the local and national needs assessment?

To understand the characteristics and health needs of people with autism of all ages in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Public Health collated an Autism Needs Assessment. This used local and national sources to indicate the numbers of people with a diagnosis of Autism; forecasting how these numbers are predicted to change with time.

The Autism Needs Assessment also undertook a review to identify good practice throughout the UK; this information was used to identify priorities and make recommendations that has informed this All Age Autism Strategy.

Key to the development of this All Age Autism Strategy has been mapping existing services to identify potential gaps, areas of good practice locally and areas for improvement; this has been informed by professionals, service users and their families and parent carer forums.

Autism Strategy - map of the area

You can find the full Autism Needs Assessment on the main web page for the consultation.

The full All Age Autism Strategy contains an overview of the Autism Needs Assessment.

What are the priorities in the autism strategy?

The priority areas of this All Age Autism Strategy have been informed by the Autism Needs Assessment and what people with autism and their families have told us. 

Our priority areas are:

  • Early intervention
  • Awareness raising and training
  • Employment and Independence
  • Housing
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Joint commissioning or services
  • Access to healthcare
  • Diagnostic pathways.

These priority areas include:

  • Having clear pathways for children and adults based on a needs led approach with good support throughout the process, combined with good pre and post diagnosis support.
  • Training and raising awareness for all areas that helps services and professionals understand the needs of people with autism within our local communities and services and recognises that autism effects different people in different ways.
  • Services that take a lifelong approach and supports people with autism in school, colleges, and universities, to be able to live independently and have meaningful employment opportunities. 
  • For health, education, and social care to work together to commission integrated services that make the best of the resources available.
  • For services to understand what reasonable adjustments are and how they can improve settings so people with autism can have positive experiences when they go into healthcare, education, and social care settings such as primary care, hospitals,

To read more about our priorities you can find more information in the full All Age Autism Strategy.

How to tell us your views

You can share your views in a number of ways:

The closing date for responses is Tuesday 19 October 2021.