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(UK) Isle of Man working to be "autism friendly'; 'differences accepted as just being a part of life'

Mar 6, 2024, (UK) BBC News: Autism strategy to tackle barriers, minister says

Irish Sea

A delayed autism strategy for the Isle of Man aims to "dismantle barriers" faced by those with the condition, the health minister has said.

The 10-year plan sets out six goals which include increased acceptance and a reduction in care inequalities experienced on the island.

Lawrie Hooper MHK said the strategy addressed "issues around access and support in education or healthcare".

A draft of the strategy was due to be published in December 2022 after a public consultation identified a range of gaps in services, but it was delayed to allow for a focus on pressing issues highlighted by respondents. . . .

A government spokeswoman said it was estimated that more than 1,500 people on the island have a form of autism, some with a diagnosis and other without.

The newly-released document by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has been based around the 10 most common issues raised in the 2022 consultation.

They included a need for more mental health support and difficulties getting a diagnoses.

'Autism-friendly island'

Each goal has a set of actions to be delivered in the next 12 months, which includes compulsory training for public service staff and an awareness campaign to inform businesses about small changes they could make to sound, lighting and accessibility to information.

Work will also be carried out to ensure that medications are not the only form of intervention offered after a diagnosis.

Mr Hooper said the plan, approved at the January sitting of Tynwald, demonstrated a commitment to becoming an "autism-friendly island" where "barriers are dismantled and differences are accepted as just being a part of life".

A progress report is set to be presented to Tynwald in September, with an annual report and updated strategy to then be produced each year until 2034.


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