Young people help launch new Autism Strategy
28/01/2014Local young people with autism have attended a Northern Ireland Assembly event For Key Stakeholders.
Daniel Calvert, Mandy Dickson and Liam Donnelly were involved with the Southern Trust in making a film ‘Understanding Autism, Understanding Me!’ which was screened at the event for people involved in the development of the Autism Strategy.
Liam Donnelly, service enhancer, said: “I am proud of the DVD and having the opportunity for it to be shown in Stormont.”
Another service enhancer, Daniel Calvert, adds: “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on a piece of work with high production value, which can help with my future career.”
Mandy Dickson states that without Autism Services none of this would be possible.
Health Minister Edwin Poots told members of the Assembly that he and his Executive colleagues are committed to supporting people with autism and their families.
Speaking at the launch of the cross-departmental Autism Strategy (2013-2020) and Action Plan (2013-2016), the Minister said: “The Autism Strategy and Action Plan outline the Executive’s commitment to improving services and support for people with autism and their families, throughout their lives.”
“The Autism Strategy is the first of its kind in terms of a cross-departmental Strategy addressing the ‘whole life’ needs of people, families and carers living with autism in Northern Ireland. The successful development of the strategy and action plan can be attributed to the effective work of the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary Project Board, coupled with the proactive input of the autism community throughout Northern Ireland.”
The strategy and action plan include an autism awareness campaign; planned improvements in accessibility to goods and services; support families living with autism, including more access to information about support and services available; and the establishment of a multi-agency autism advice service pilot.
The Minister paid tribute to the many individuals and groups who contributed to the strategy and action plan.
He said: “This has highlighted the need for awareness and understanding of autism throughout society. It is vital that we retain the voice of people with autism, their families and carers they continue to be involved during implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan. My Executive colleagues and I remain committed to commissioning, developing and delivering services so we can collectively maximise the potential, participation and inclusion of people with autism throughout their lives; and at the same time provide support and encouragement to them and their families.”
Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; with Mandy Dickson, Service Enhancer; Liam Donnelly, Service Enhancer; Daniel Calvert Service Enhancer; Catherine Corrigan, Southern Trust; Lisa Polland-O’Hare, Southern Trust; and Sean Holland, Chief Social Services Officer, DHSSPS
The Strategy and Action Plan is on the DHSSPS website at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/show-publications?txtid=66707