Making strides in improving and raising awareness of autism services

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A programme aimed at raising awareness and improving understanding of autism has now been rolled out in 80 primary schools across Wales, according to an annual report published today.

‘Learning with Autism’, developed by the National ASD Development Team – which is funded by Welsh Government and hosted by WLGA in partnership with Public Health Wales – is a programme intended to create autism-aware school settings in order to better support children with autism.

Published today, the National ASD Development Team’s Annual Report shows that the programme was rolled out in 54 Welsh primary schools in 2017-18 taking the current total number of accredited autism aware primary schools up to 80.

Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:

“Children with autism have as much of a right to enjoy and flourish in their school settings as their peers, and improving everyone’s understanding of autism is essential in order to achieve this. I am delighted that so many primary schools have undertaken ‘Learning with Autism’, with many more schools currently implementing the programme.”

The annual report also notes the critical role played by the National ASD Development Team in establishing and developing a national Integrated Autism Service (IAS), which will offer consistent support to autistic people across Wales. Services are already operating in Cardiff and Vale, Cwm Taf, Gwent and Powys, and it will be launched in north Wales next week and will be operational in Western Bay and West Wales later this year.

Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Social Services and Wellbeing said:

“I’m pleased with the real progress we’ve made this year to improve services for people with autism. We are raising awareness of autism across services, improving access to assessment and diagnosis and putting in place additional specialist support in every region. 

“Although we are making good progress we know there is still much more to do and we continue to look carefully at the issues which autistic people say matter most to them to inform future action.”

Tracey Cooper, Chief Executive of Public Health Wales said:

“This collaboration between health and local government is a clear example of where successful joint working can make a real difference in communities. The National ASD Development team is an important initiative for us in Public Health and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the WLGA and WG over the coming year to support full rollout out of the IAS across Wales.”

Councillor David added:

“We are proud of the work of the National ASD Team working with professionals and partners across Wales to support people with autism. The Integrated Autism Service has been rolled out in every region in Wales to provide a joint health and social care model of support for autistic people and families and carers of autistic children, which has to date been missing,”

To find out more about the work of the National ASD Development Team, or to learn more about how to sign up your school to the ‘Learning with Autism’ programme, please visit the website on:


Notes for editors:

The Welsh Government Annual Report on Autism 2017/18 is here:   

The WLGA’s National ASD Development Team Annual Report on Autism 2017/18 is here:

Contacts for enquiries:

Sara Harvey, National Strategicl Lead for Autism, WLGA

Wendy Thomas, National Professional Lead for Autism, WLGA


The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) represents the interests of local government and promotes local democracy in Wales.

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