Developing a Merton Autism Strategy

We want Merton to be an autism-friendly borough in which people with autism can reach their full potential at all stages of their lives. To achieve this, we have developed a joint strategy with the London Borough of Merton, encompassing children, young people and adults with autism and taking into consideration the needs of families and carers.

The strategy is supported by a 5 year action plan which sets out the actions we will jointly take to deliver the aims of the strategy. 

Engagement activity

To develop this strategy we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including people with autism and parents and carers, people working in education, housing, employment and health services to seek their views on what is working well and what needs to improve for people with autism.

From the 5th of February to the 19th March 2018, we ran on-line and paper easy-read surveys and focus groups with stakeholders, including people with autism, parents and carers and professionals.

We spoke to more than 150 local people with 47 completing the questionnaire and 90 attending a face-to-face session. More than half of those (60) were people with autism or their families and carers.

There was broad support for the draft strategy, with the following themes being some of the most popular throughout the discussions:

  • Ensuring the new assessment, diagnosis and support pathway for 0-18 year olds is easily understood, is available to those who need it and is in line with national guidance
  • Voluntary register for adults to gain accurate data on adults with autism (diagnosed or undiagnosed)
  • Group activities for children and young people to socialise
  • Assessments to equip people with autism with realistic expectations of services available to them as they move towards adulthood, and have a focus on developing independence
  • To review opportunities to improve support for families and carers of people with autism, such as strengthening signposting, peer support networks, advocacy services and short breaks
  • Build on and strengthen the local offer for children, young people and adults to provide a single point of access to clear, comprehensive information about local services relevant to autism

Next steps

Information was used to update and finalise the Autism Strategy and action plan which was published in August 2018.  

Visit our you said, we did page to see how feedback influenced the final policy.