What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people view the world and interact with others.
Autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be cured. Often, people feel that being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that there are varying degrees of how a person is affected. All autistic people share certain difficulties, although no two people with autism will have the same experience. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning they will need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum have the ability to learn and develop and should be supported to live a life which is best for them.
We want to ensure that all our residents and our workforce, especially those with customer-facing roles, are aware of autism. We also want people to understand some of the social challenges that those with autism face in their day-to-day lives.
Did you know?
- As many as one in 100 people in the UK are thought to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
- It is thought that 52% of people diagnosed with autism also have a learning disability.
- Five times as many males as females are diagnosed with autism.
- Asperger’s syndrome is an autistic spectrum diagnosis.
Lambeth’s Think Autism Strategy
Lambeth has enforced the Government’s 2014 Think Autism Strategy. The strategy's aim was improving the lives of adults with autism by:
- making sure that more people understand autism
- making it easier for adults to get a diagnosis of autism (a diagnosis is when a doctor tells someone that they have autism)
- making it easier for adults with autism to choose how they live and get the help that they need to do this
- helping adults with autism to find jobs
- helping local councils and health services to write plans so that the adults with autism who live in their area get the help that they need.
Autism self-assessment strategy
Local authorities were asked to complete an autism self-assessment framework as part of the Think Autism Strategy. We did this by collecting local responses from organisations, autistic people and their families.
The progress being made in implementing the strategy was assessed through a national exercise called the Autism Self-Assessment Framework (SAF).
Since completing our SAF we are working to improve access to services for autistic people. To do this, we are working in partnership with:
- people with autism
- our colleagues across social care and health
- education and justice
- the voluntary and community sectors.
The council has had positive feedback from professionals and families.
Autism Action Forum
The Autism Action Forum is open to all people on the autistic spectrum, their carers and professionals. Its aim is to make sure that Lambeth is an autistic-friendly community. Those on the autistic spectrum, or their carers, are welcome to take part in the forum as little or as much as they want.
There are normally four forums held each year where members look at themes. These include, for example:
- diagnostics and referrals
- transitioning from childhood to adulthood
- health and wellbeing
- employment and training.
Last year, the council worked with members of the Autism Action Forum to host a community event in celebration of Autism Awareness Week. The next Autism Action forum will be held at the Lambeth Civic Centre.
If you're interested in attending, please contact Malvina Edwards-Drayton at: MEdwardsDrayton@lambeth.gov.uk.
Autism Social Club
We have an evening social club for autistic people, which is held at Lambeth College, Clapham Centre every Monday from 6.30 pm. For more information, please go along to a session, or contact Michael Charsley at: MCharsley@lambeth.ac.uk.
To find out more about autism, or to get resources or support, please visit:
- Autism: Improving access to social care for adults - Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
- Lambeth Autism Group
- Living Autism
- National Autistic Society
- Organisations in Lambeth that support people with autism - National Autistic Society website
- Organisations in Lambeth and Southwark that support people with autism - Lambeth and Southwark Mind website
- Year review of the Lambeth Autism Group - YouTube video