Autism affects one per cent of the population. It is a developmental disability which affects the way the individual communicates and interacts with others.
The Gwynedd plan is a multi agency scheme which includes Gwynedd Council, the Gwynedd and Anglesey Autism and Asperger Group and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board amongst others. The aim of the scheme is to improve understanding of the autistic spectrum conditions as well as identifying the needs and providing services for people of all ages who are affected by the condition.
During the launch, Janet Ryder AM said:
“I am very pleased to be here today, this is a brilliant example of what we can achieve by working together.
“Wales was one of the first countries to adopt a National Autistic Strategic Plan and Gwynedd is one of the first counties to take on a plan of its own.
“A strategic plan means that everyone, across the country, has the same access to services. By adopting a scheme we ensure we forget no-one and the plan can be flexible enough to suit the person, we don’t expect the person to fit the service. People don’t fit into boxes.”
Gwen Carrington, Gwynedd Council’s head of Social Services, said that the plan is dependant on agencies working together.
She said: “We need these partnerships – one agency cannot solve problems and provide the correct services alone, no matter how good they are.
“We can achieve so much more with the resources we have by building on what already exists and pushing the boundaries.
“Information and knowledge is the key for an autism plan in Gwynedd.”
Other guest speakers at the launch were:
• Dr Glenys Jones – lecturer and researcher at the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and a chartered psychologist.
• Geoff Evans – deputy director of ASD services at the Options Group in Holywell and is recognised as a leading international expert in the field of autism.
• John Green – spoke of his own experience of growing up with Asperger syndrome.