Better News Network

Plan to make Sheffield more autism-friendly

Local Democracy Reporting Service
Sheffield Council has unveiled plans to make the city more "autism-friendly".
A consultation with people with autism and their carers found that many felt they were misunderstood and faced barriers at work, school and accessing health services and the justice system.
Some said they did not feel safe and had faced harassment. The feedback has shaped the new all-age autism strategy.
A report has estimated there could be between 8,500 and 20,000 people with the condition living in Sheffield.
Some people told the council there was a perception that they were were "stupid or rude" or not "autistic enough" to need help.
One person said: "Autism is known as an invisible disability - people have no idea how difficult it can be."
'Seldom heard'
The strategy is set to be approved during a strategy and resources committee meeting.
Priorities for the next year include ensuring high-quality training about autism is in place across all frontline services, and significantly improving the public's understanding and acceptance of autism, as well as ensuring better support for unpaid carers.
The strategy also calls for starting conversations with families affected by autism from year nine, reducing diagnosis waiting times and ensuring all schools are accessible for neurodiverse people.
Officers said the vision would take time to achieve and the council planned to publish an annual review to keep it on track.
The report said: "The strategy outlines Sheffield's commitment to strengthen autistic individuals' voices in the city, family members' and carers' voices and continue to reach out to the seldom heard."
Follow BBC Yorkshire on

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 4:17 pm

Full Coverage