Autism NI joined forces with the National Autistic Society NI to challenge the NI Executive on their failure to deliver an Autism Strategy.
In 2011 the Autism Act and resulting Strategy and Action Plan increased the hopes of autistic people and their families for a better future for them and their loved ones. However the reality is that their life is getting more, rather than less, difficult for them and services are failing to deliver. Our research found that:
- Only 8% of those in our survey felt that services for autistic children had improved in the last three years
- A mere 4% felt services for adults had improved in the last three years
- 75% felt services for children had got worse or stayed the same
- 56% of adults felt that services had got worse or stayed the same.
Dr Arlene Cassidy MBE from Autism NI said:
“Autism NI as co-author (alongside the All Party Group on Autism) of the Autism Act (NI) 2011 is astounded at the inefficiency, lack of leadership, ownership and accountability surrounding the implementation process led by the DHSSPS. It has left the autism community out in the cold and totally alienated from what should have been a very positive, innovative and engaging implementation of rights and equality based disability legislation.
The 'Broken Promises' report launched with the National Autistic Society NI provides evidence of that failure, bringing a huge injustice out into the light and calling upon the Northern Ireland Executive to fulfil the obligations it unanimously voted for in 2011 and to fully live up to the spirit and promise of the Autism Act (NI) 2011".
The two charities are united in their determination to resolve what they see as 'broken promises' to the autistic community in Northern Ireland. They are asking government to act now and fulfil its promises by fully funding the autism strategy and action plan and involving the voluntary sector, autistic people families and carers in its monitoring and implementation.