Summary of report content
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the local authorities and health commissioners are developing a new All-Age Autism Strategy. To prepare for this, an important needs assessment was carried out by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough to understand the characteristics and health needs of autistic people of all ages across their area.
The common themes they found are as follows:
- People found it hard to get a diagnosis for autism and the path is long.
- It is not easy to find support after diagnosis.
- A need for more support was clear. This ranged from help in coming to terms with a diagnosis to help with social skills, advice on training and employment opportunities, benefits, independent living, and where needed, a support worker to guide and encourage people in their daily lives and help them reach their potential.
- Healthcare workers and the wider community must improve their understanding of autism, especially in women and girls.
- Mental health services should have a good understanding of autism and the needs of autistic people, so that reasonably adjusted and effective care and treatment is always provided.
- People wanted better and easier access to services with communication options such as emails and text.
- People wanted clear information about autism, local services and support.
The report contains recommendations to help local authorities and commissioners develop and enable a pathway of services, including voluntary sector and community organisations, which meet the needs of autistic people.