England: autism strategy extends to children and young people for the first time

20 September 2021

The National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026 builds on and replaces the Think Autism strategy of 2014. 

The new initiative recognises the importance of ensuring children and young people are diagnosed and receive the right support as early as possible.

‘Far too many autistic people still struggle in childhood, both with getting a diagnosis and with support following a diagnosis, including at school, and find it hard to get a job when they reach adulthood,’ the joint ministerial foreword states.

Among the strategy’s aims are to achieve the NHS Long-term plan targets to reduce the number of autistic people and people with a learning disability who are mental health inpatients by 2024. It also seeks to modernise the Mental Health Act, which would mean autistic people are only admitted to in-patient mental health settings if absolutely necessary.

‘We want to create a society that truly understands and includes autistic people in all aspects of life; one in which autistic people of all ages [...] have better access to the services they need throughout their lives,’ the report says. 

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