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#WithoutUs: The crucial role of Autism Guernsey

Autism Guernsey (AG) was established over ten years ago to fill a gap in services for autistic people. Initially, AG collaborated with the local branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) to create an outreach service for those not eligible for statutory support. AG started with eight clients and now supports over 300 individuals and their families. The charity receives no direct funding from the States and relies on donations, grants, and fundraising. Due to the current economic climate, securing funding is increasingly challenging, making it difficult to maintain, let alone expand, services.

AG continues to support autistic individuals without co-occurring conditions that would entitle them to statutory services. Demand is high; AG's weekly consultation clinic is fully booked until the end of June. AG collaborates with other charities like Mind and Wigwam and receives referrals from Health and Social Care (HSC) and GPs. Efforts are underway to revive the local NAS branch, which has been dormant for several years.

In 2009, the NAS reviewed local autism services, leading to a 2014 States report on a pathway for adults. In 2016, the States adopted the Autism Framework as part of its Disability Strategy. This framework, developed with significant consultation led by Research Autism and jointly funded by the States, NAS, and AG, outlines goals and recommendations for service coordination and delivery, along with performance indicators to measure long-term improvements:

The framework's implementation, led by HSC and involving multiple States' Committees, has faced challenges due to staff changes and a lack of allocated resources. Although operational staff are committed to the framework's goals, progress has been

limited. Recently, efforts are being made to reinvigorate its implementation. The framework remains a clear pathway for improving on-island autism services.

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