The public is being given the chance to help shape a new strategy to improve the lives of those living with autism in North Yorkshire.
The wide-reaching aim of the strategy is to provide better support for autistic people as well as changing the understanding and perception of the condition across the community.
The new North Yorkshire Council is working with the Humber and North Yorkshire and the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Boards to hold a series of engagement events for autistic people and parents or family carers to share their ideas and experiences.
There will also be a survey for people who prefer to take part through that route to express their views.
Inclusion North, a not-for-profit organisation which works with the public sector, has been brought in to help with the work.
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Experts estimate more than one per cent of people are autistic.
When complete, the new all-age autism strategy will be used across the health and local authority sector, alongside voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for health and adult services, Cllr Michael Harrison, said: “The aim is to enable autistic people to life fulfilling lives by making sure the right support is available at the right moments in their lives.
“It is also important that wider society has a better understanding of the condition and how all members of the community can help.
“Autistic people’s ideas and experiences will be at the heart of the new strategy.
“That is why we are so keen that people attend the engagement sessions and help us to ensure the new strategy is as thorough and as helpful as it can possibly be.”
Once the strategy has been adopted, it is expected to remain in place until 2026.
Key areas it will cover will including improving the understanding and acceptance of autism in society, creating better access to education and assisting young people’s transition to adulthood, supporting people into employment, tackling health and care inequalities, building better support both in the community and within the health service, and improved support within the criminal and youth justice systems.
There will also be guidelines for providing support to families and carers.
The first engagement event takes place in Scarborough on April 6, with others at Richmond on April 19, Skipton on April 21, Pickering on April 25, Northallerton on April 26, Harrogate on April 27 and Selby on April 28. Inclusion North can be contacted on 07960 388628 or 0113 2444792 for more details and to book a place.
Alternatively, send an email to Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org
The survey will be available from April 6 to May 31, at https://www.nypartnerships.org.uk/autismstrategy
Copies will also be available in North Yorkshire libraries.