Scottish Strategy for Autism: outcomes and priorities 2018-2021

Document setting out the priorities for action through to 2021 to improve outcomes for autistic people living in Scotland.

Active Citizenship

What you told us:

  • That autistic people should have more opportunities to work and should be supported into work and while in work.
  • That autistic people should be supported on a strengths-based approach.
  • That the current social security system is difficult for autistic people, their families and carers to access and navigate, and does not fully recognise the nature of autism and how it affects a person.
  • That autistic people, their families and carers should be able to access cultural and social activities like any other citizens.
  • That well-planned transitions are important to ensuring autistic people are properly supported throughout their lives.
  • That social isolation is an issue for many autistic people and their families and that steps need to be taken to reduce this.

What we will do next:

  • Scottish Government will deliver on the commitments in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People. [19] We have engaged with stakeholders, including disabled people with learning disabilities and autism, on how to halve the disability employment gap – and will continue doing this during 2018 and beyond. In the Spring of 2018 we will set out next steps for taking forward action to reduce by more than half the disability employment gap, and on 30 April 2018 we will hold a national congress on disability, employment and the workplace.
  • We will consult with public sector bodies and disabled people's organisations about how to increase the disability employment rate in the public sector. During this process we will engage with austic people and their representative bodies.
  • The Scottish Government recognise that autistic people have much to give but still face very specific challenges in securing sustained employment. Our new employment programme, Fair Start Scotland will commence in April 2018. [20] Fair Start Scotland will reflect the need for effective person-centred services and in-work support and will include tailored and personalised provision for all customers.
  • The Scottish Government will expect Fair Start Scotland providers to have specialist support in place for people with additional support needs, including autism, to help them secure sustained employment. They will be expected to work closely with employers and have a proven track record of achieving positive results for their clients.
  • Fair Start Scotland will gather data on the autistic people that we support into work. For our own programmes and initiatives we will improve data collections and break downs of disability data into meaningful categories in order to establish base line and to be able to measure progress.
  • We will work with our partners in Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) to support autistic people in Modern Apprenticeships. SDS will focus their efforts on measures to increase the number of individuals starting apprenticeships who have a learning disability, including autism. Emphasis will also be placed on strategies to enable disabled people to sustain and achieve their apprenticeship including using additional funding to deliver supported employment models and support in making reasonable adjustment for delivery and assessment.
  • The Scottish Government is responsible for designing the new social security system for Scotland and one of the guiding principles for social security is that we will put the user experience first, and design our new system with people who have experience of using the current system. [21] We want to ensure Scotland's newly devolved social security arrangements are fully responsive to the needs of autistic people.
  • Scottish Government will work to promote and facilitate participation in activities that have meaning for individuals. We will work across government to ensure people with autism are able to enjoy Scotland's rich cultural heritage, vibrant creative arts sector, inclusive sport opportunities and built and natural environments.
  • Scottish Government will work with partners to promote the Principles of Good Transitions 3 and its autism supplement as guides of best practice in transitions for young people with additional needs. [22]
  • We will work with national agencies to explore the findings of the report - Facing the Future Together - on availability of transitions planning and support, and develop plans for improvement. [23]
  • We will work with partners and the Scottish Funding Council to deliver training – Enhancing Inclusive Practice: Transitions and Autism – to staff in Scotland's Further Education colleges and universities.
  • We will work with partners to promote the new Transitions across the lifespan resources.
  • We recognise that social isolation is an issue for many autistic people and their families. We want everyone to have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships regardless of age, status, circumstance or identity, and we will work with partners to reduce social isolation in the autistic population. [24]


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