New Hampshire Autism Strategy unveils recommendations for better support for all ages

Issued on behalf of Hampshire Autism Partnership Board

Mar 18 2024

Hampshire Autism Partnership Board (HAPB) is inviting organisations and individuals to join its drive to improve understanding, acceptance, and support for autistic people across the county.

To mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week (18 to 24 March 2024), the Board has launched its new all-ages strategy – the result of two years’ work with professionals, charities, and most importantly, autistic people and their families. The strategy sets out recommendations to help remove the barriers faced by autistic people in key areas such as education, employment, health, community, and the law.

Now the Board is calling on local businesses and organisations to use the new Hampshire Autism Strategy to be more inclusive. 

Margaret White from Hampshire Autism Voice, Co-chair of HAPB said: “Ideally, Hampshire will become a place where autistic people are accepted and can live fulfilling, independent lives. The strategy’s recommendations give clear direction to all the Board’s partners on how to work together to make Hampshire more autism-friendly in key areas. 

“Over the next five years, we see the strategy as a dynamic guide, which will evolve, and provide a useful foundation for anyone committed to improving the lives of autistic people.”

Her Co-chair, Councillor Lesley Meenaghan, a Hampshire County Councillor, added: “This is the first time a single strategy has been produced for both children and adults, recognising that autism is a lifelong condition. It reflects the valuable input of experts by lived experience, parents and carers and the collaboration between the voluntary and statutory sectors to remove barriers that stand in the way of autistic children and adults in Hampshire living healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.

“As we continue to work together for a better future for all autistic people in Hampshire, we are actively encouraging anyone with an interest in autism to offer input to evolve these recommendations.”

  • The key recommendations of the strategy are:

    Improving understanding and acceptance: To strengthen community engagement and support networks, the strategy suggests having more autistic voices in leadership roles, with organisations working closely with the Board to share knowledge and practice. 
    Empowering education and transitions: Better autism-specific training in schools to improve transitions for autistic students and help for them to advocate for themselves as they grow up.
    Supporting employment opportunities: Raising aspirations and awareness about job opportunities for autistic individuals, making workplaces more inclusive, and offering support for transitioning from school to work.
    Addressing health and care inequalities: Building better partnerships between healthcare providers and autism support services to improve access to care. 
    Building community support and reducing inpatient care: Increasing community support, thereby reducing the need for hospital stays and better housing options for autistic people.
    Improving support within criminal and youth justice systems: Ensuring these systems are better equipped to support autistic individuals, including more training and adjustments to the system.

The full strategy, along with information on how to feed back on its content, is available on the new HAPB pages on the Hampshire County Council website. An easy-read version will be added shortly.