A conference was held last month (Thursday 19th March) to help raise awareness and create a strategic action plan on Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
According to key statistics for Rhondda Cynon Taf, published by the National Assembly for Wales in 2006, it is estimated that there are 1,391 children and adults predicted to have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder living in or originating from Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Over 140 people, including a mix of professionals, parents/carers and service users, attended the event.
The conference aimed to inform residents and professionals in the area about what is happening in Rhondda Cynon Taf for people with autism and more importantly, to give them the opportunity to tell professionals how they feel about which services should be developed or improved to support people with autism, as well as what else can be done to help those affected and their families.
The event was split into two parts, the morning saw leading professionals Dr Latif, Consultant Paediatrician (Cwm Taf NHS Trust),, Hugh Morgan, ASD Implementation Manager for the Welsh Assembly Government, Jane Pagler, Consultant Project Worker for RCT and Service User, Barnaby Beaver, give talks on Autism, including what is being done, new developments, dealing with the disorder and how the conference could help service users to shape the future service delivery. The second part of the day focused on the service user and their family to gain information on what they need from the service, the information gathered will now form part of the action plan fro RCT.
Caroline Wells, Development Officer, said: “The Rhondda Cynon Taff ASD Strategy Group will continue to meet regularly to take forward our local plan to develop and improve services to support all people with autism and their families. As part of this process we will continue to involve those who are directly affected by ASD.
Although it may take some time for the benefits of this strategic action plan to be fully realised, we believe that this focus on ASD nationally and locally will lead to lasting benefits for all those affected by ASD”
Councillor Mike Forey, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, said: “According to the National Austistic Society, over 500,000 people in the UK have ASD. A study published in 2006 has shown that as many as one in 100 children may be affected by the disorder. The condition can have a major impact not only on the child’s life but those around them. This event showed the Council’s commitment to ensure that we will work with our partners to help service users and their families to get all the help and support they need.”