Autism strategy in action


Almost £300,000 of funding to support the Scottish Government’s autism strategy was announced today by Public Health Minister Michael Matheson.

Sixteen organisations around Scotland, many working in partnership, have received funding to develop new support services for people with autism and their families.

The package includes £10,590 for Barnardo’s Intensive Behaviour Support Service, which will extend its remits to include families with autistic children, £11,000 for Perth Autism Support for children and families support services and £84,463 for Richmond Fellowship Scotland to provide training opportunities for family carers.

The Minister also confirmed that nine local autism co-ordinators will be recruited in the coming months to determine current service provision for people with autism and develop services to better support people with autism and their families.

The move is a key element of the Scottish Government and COSLA’s £13.4 million autism strategy, launched in November to build on improvements to autism services in Scotland.

Mr Matheson said:

“Our autism strategy was launched in November to ensure people with autism and their families are supported by the widest possible range of social care, education, housing, employment and other community based services. 

“We have put the resources in place to deliver improvements for individuals and families and this first package of funding will support initiatives to help people receive the support they need in a way which promotes their independence and emotional well-being and respects their dignity.

“We are making good progress towards delivering the goals of the strategy, and in the coming months will be recruiting the local autism co-ordinators to improve support services available to people who need them.

“We are also working with Autism Initiatives, Scottish Autism and National Autistic Society to develop additional drop-in services for people with autism and their families.”

Koen van der Straeten  of Barnardo’s Intensive Behaviour Support Service said:

“The Barnardo's Intensive Behaviour Support Service (BIBSS) works with families who have a child with a learning disability and behavioural and/or sleep issues. Thanks to the Autism Development Fund, Barnardo’s Scotland is extending the service’s remit and expertise to families with an autistic child. The BIBSS team works with families in their own home to implement strategies to increase the confidence, skills and knowledge of parents and carers of children and young people, and we are delighted that this opportunity can be opened up to more children.”

Angie Ferguson of Perth Autism Support said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Autism Development Fund.  Services in our area are limited and not autism specific, so the funding will give much needed support to families and children under 16 with autism in Perth and Kinross. The funding will allow us to plan an extensive programme of social activities for all the family and specific therapies for the children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder."

Sovay Adams of Richmond Fellowship Scotland said:

“The award to The Richmond Fellowship Scotland from the Autism Development Fund will make a real and lasting difference to over 200 family carers and autistic people across Scotland. We will offer Positive Behaviour Support training and guidance to family carers so that they are better able to deal with the emotional and behavioural challenges that autism brings. By training family carers directly we will empower them to improve the quality of life for the whole family.”

Those supported from the first tranche of funding are Aberdeenshire Council, Achievement Bute, Autism Initiative UK, Barnardo’s Scotland, Central Carers Association, Dundee City Council, Inverness Leisure, IWORK4ME, National Autistic Society, Parents of Autistic Spectrum Disorder Adults (PASDA), Perth Autism Support, Rainbow Rogues, Richmond Fellowship Scotland, Shetland Islands Council, St Modan’s Autism Provision and West Lothian Council. Further support will be announced in the next financial year.