Social workers failing adults with autism due to training gap, warns charity

National Autistic Society finds just 23% of adults with autism believe social workers have a good understanding of the condition, while half of councils are not providing community care assessors with autism training.

Social workers are failing adults with autism because of a lack of training from local authorities, the National Autistic Society (NAS) warned today.

Just 23% of adults with autism surveyed by the organisation in January said social workers they had encountered had a very or fairly good understanding of the condition and its impact.

A separate survey of councils in England by the NAS found 46% of authorities had failed to put in place autism awareness training for community care assessors, despite the 2010 adult autism strategy saying this training should be “essential” for staff carrying out assessments. Some of this group of councils will have implemented this training by the end of the year, though others have no plans in place to do so.

“It is absolutely vital that social workers working with people with autism understand the condition and its impact,” said Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS. “Without the right training, community care assessors will struggle to understand the complexities of autism which can lead to someone getting inadequate support or even no support at all.”

The NAS found 70% of adults surveyed weren’t getting the help that they need from social services leading to significant reliance on parents and friends.

The NAS is launching a campaign this week, Push for Action, to promote implementation of the autism strategy in order to improve outcomes for adults with the condition.

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