The Guernsey Autism Framework 2016 was approved by the Committee for Health & Social Care (HSC) and recommended this to the Disability and Inclusion Board as fulfilling the requirement set out in the States Billet of November 2013 that HSC should develop such a framework.
The document is the result of extensive consultation with islanders and professionals across the States and voluntary sectors. Its recommendations have been accepted by the Committee and will be progressed both as part of business as usual, but also as part of the transformation of health and social care.
The Autism Framework acknowledges that there are significant gaps in provision for autistic adults and that previous attempts to improve this have not been sustained. Building on the experience in this and other jurisdictions (notably the Scottish Autism Strategy) the Guernsey Autism Framework provides short term goals and recommendations for leadership, coordination and delivery of services. It also provides quality indicators to measure improvements against in the longer term. This aims to ensure that this time we get it right for people who need it. The States can only do this by working in partnership with islanders and the voluntary sector who support them.
To begin the implementation of the Guernsey Autism Framework 2016, an Autism Operational and Strategic Lead was appointed in September 2018, sitting within the Adult Disability Team, Health and Social Care.
Initially the role has focused on the development of an Autism Hub - Le Vieux Jardin. The States of Guernsey HSC department and the Guernsey Housing Association (GHA) have collaborated in the design and development of an innovative supported living housing scheme, comprising of eight bespoke bungalows, with high-end assistive technology to meet the complex needs of the tenants.
This new development will offer autism specific person-centred accommodation, along with a staff team who are experienced and trained in autism. Offering personalised programmes of care and support for people, to maximise their potential for independence and quality of life.
Adult Disability Services are keen to have person-centred purpose built homes for adults living on the island and to enable the return of those currently receiving services off island back to Guernsey. This unique new accommodation will enable people to return to Guernsey and be reunited with their family and friends, as well as to provide facilities for people who require an autism-specific environment who currently live on island.
Autistic people are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. Until now, there has been no purpose built accommodation for adults on the autistic spectrum on the island. The expected completion of Le Vieux Jardin is autumn 2019.
Additionally, HSC are working in partnership with Autism Guernsey and the Guernsey National Autistic Society to create a Guernsey Autism Partnership (GAP). This is a weekly drop-in service that provides information and advice for islanders, as follows:
- Offering autistic people, their families and professionals' information and advice about autism.
- Acting as an information hub, to understand and respond to the needs of the autism community, whilst understanding and capturing data on unmet needs.
The small team will seek to:
- Support individuals to access the services they need, whether they are in the community or autism specific.
- Guidance to overcome barriers such as an unaddressed diagnosis and delayed intervention of support.
- Access to a library of information and resources about autism.
- A safe and friendly place to speak confidentially to someone who understands about autism and its impact.