The National Autistic Society has criticised local authorities across England for taking a “one-size fits all” approach when supporting children with autism, despite national guidance being in place since 2002.
A NAS study identified that families living with autism experienced a “postcode lottery” when accessing services or support.
Amanda Batten, NAS head of policy and campaigns, said: “It is deeply wrong that where you live should be a determining factor in the kind of services and support you are able to access. It is vital that local authorities are able to respond to the diverse needs of families living with autism at a local level.”
The study of 69 local authorities in England, out of a total of 150, found that only 11% had fully implemented the government’s good practice guidance, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, since it was published in 2002.
Only half of local authorities had a specific register of children with autism to guide planning and commissioning, while a third did not refer specifically to autism in special educational need policies.
Despite 88% of local authorities working to implement government guidance on autism and two-thirds offering autism staff training, the study identified “significant variation” across local authorities.