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The Autism Alliance is launching a campaign to support autistic people to – Know Your Rights – which launched on 4th April with a meeting of autistic people, families and carers, as well as representatives from Mencap and the NAS, at the Central Hall Westminster. The meeting followed on the heels of the annual Autism Accountability Meeting the previous day.

On 4th April the launch will create a national conversation to ensure that autistic people know their rights and that local authorities ensure their staff are informed about the legal obligations to them.

Every autistic adult in the UK has the right to:
•Have a care needs assessment that is autism specific
•Undertaken by an assessor with the skills, competency and knowledge of autism sufficient to undertake that assessment

Key stats and quotes from the launch:

“We recognise Local Authorities are experiencing unprecedented funding pressures, but by not effectively assessing and meeting needs it is forcing autistic people into crisis, both costing more in the long run and impacting hugely on quality of life for those individuals.” Jane Howson, CEO Autism East Midlands

“If the tools are inappropriate, and an assessor has a day’s training at best, do we think that this person can recognise intricate care needs of someone with autism? The answer is no” Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum

“The one resounding thing from our survey statistics is that 77% of LAs say they are not using autism specific tools” Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum

Eric Heath, who co-runs autonomy in Shropshire, told the audience about Mary whose care package was reassessed by someone who did not understand Mary’s masking – she lost her care hours.

Mark Abbott Compton told attendees about how an assessment for his son suggested reducing his care by 50%. “I thought the Autism Act would be a massive step forward, but it is retrogressive – people are not implementing it”

Sylvia who is autistic told everyone about how much support she needed to get to the event. She said people make assumptions because she is articulate, and assume she does not need help and support.

75% of Local Authorities offered their staff less than a days training on autism- you cannot understand the complex nature of autism and how it presents across the spectrum in 1 day.

The Know Your Rights Campaign will go on to be launched regionally with the first being on the 9th April in the East Midlands, as Autism East Midlands host their regional launch. Together we can make the Act work better for everyone.