‘Executive committed to supporting people with autism’ – Poots

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Health Minister Edwin Poots has told members of the Assembly that he and his Executive colleagues are committed to supporting people with autism and their families. The Minister was speaking as he launched the cross departmental Autism Strategy (2013 – 2020) and Action Plan (2013 – 2016) on behalf of the Executive. Speaking to the Assembly, 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.” Poots also told MLAs, “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. It will also include the establishment of a multi-agency autism advice service pilot in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, which is being launched today. The Minister paid tribute to the many individuals and groups who contributed to the strategy and action plan. “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.” The Minister added, “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.”
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