The parent-led autism support group iContact has published a detailed report, The East Sussex Autism Survey, sharing the experiences of families of autistic children. Already the findings have led to positive collaboration between the parent-led group and East Sussex County Council to effect change.
The report presents responses from 100 parents of autistic children across the county. Key problems raised included:
- long waits for diagnosis, often of several years;
- patchy support provision in schools, with some very poor experiences;
- little or no support in some of the greatest areas of need: social, emotional and general life skills.
The findings reflect poor experiences throughout the UK, where 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school, only 15% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment and where there are high rates of suicide.
The report sets out clear recommendations. In a spirit of collaboration, iContact shared an early draft with East Sussex County Council. Their response is included in the Appendix and includes information about plans for new initiatives and a commitment to work with families to continue to improve provision.