Priority 2: Reduce inequalities for autistic people and make Coventry and Warwickshire autism friendly places to live

Improve the health and wellbeing of autistic people through developing autism friendly towns and cities in Coventry and Warwickshire, including taking action to ensure autistic people experience equality of access and inclusive services and support. We all want to live in communities that support each other, without prejudice, to get the most out of our lives. Respecting human rights, citizenship and offering inclusive approach to all citizens must extend to everyone, including in access to education and employment, and autistic people as well as their parents and carers should be no exception.

We recognise that autistic people do not enjoy the same levels of physical or mental health as neurotypical people. This objective aims to ensure that autistic people in Coventry and Warwickshire live, work and go to school in autism friendly environments. We want to make sure that autistic people can access adjusted and accessible care and support. This objective is highlighting that it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure they design and deliver services that consider the needs of autistic people. Through development of Autism Friendly Communities, as well as autism related awareness raising resources and training options, it is intended that everyone will be able to access and benefit from being involved in cultural, sport and leisure opportunities in an equal measure. This objective includes working with the Criminal Justice service to reduce instances of ‘hate crime’, improve awareness and understanding of autism across the criminal justice system and support people with autism keep themselves safe and feel safe in their communities.  

I statements

  • I feel welcomed and included in my local community.
  • I feel valued for the contribution that I can make to my school, workplace and community.
  • I have the same opportunities as everyone else to train, study, work or engage in activities that match my interests, skills, abilities.
  • I have access to a range of support that keeps me healthy, both mentally and physically, helps me to live the life I want and to remain a contributing member of my community. • The people who support me understand my autism, accept me as I am and make efforts to communicate with me in ways that make it easier for me. • The environments in which I work and access support are designed to make me feel safe and welcomed. • I feel that my community is a safe place to live and local people look out for me and each other

What we will do

2.1 Review service specifications for commissioned services and collect evidence that services and environments are being adjusted for people with autism and/or a learning disability and that personalised support is offered based on need not diagnosis.

2.2 Through the SEND and Inclusion agenda, promote and champion strong leadership and drive continuous improvement in inclusive practice for autistic children and young people across mainstream and special education settings. Particular focus needs to be given to how autistic young people with autism experience bullying and social isolation.

2.3 Ensure the mental health workforce have the required training, skills and confidence to recognise co-occurring Autism and choose and tailor interventions appropriately. Review risk assessments and develop pathways to more effectively identify and support autistic young people and adults. Consider use of screening tools for autism within mental health assessments for adults and children and ensure that IAPT services, eating disorder services, self-harm pathways and services for people with gender identity concerns include an accessible offer for autistic people.

2.4 Expand the work on reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities to include autistic people, including piloting annual health checks in primary care and ensuring there is an appropriate offer of support delivered following these checks within community and acute health services. (linked to national pilot through Long Term Plan)

2.5 Promote the benefits of employing autistic people through engaging employing organisations, people with autism and workplace mentors. Support employers and workplaces to become more autism friendly.

2.6 Strategy partners commit to learning from good practice around inclusion and lead by example by becoming autism friendly organisations and employers.

2.7 Develop and disseminate autism awareness training that focuses on practical ways to be autism friendly across community organisations, businesses, services and environments, including

  • Education providers (schools, colleges and universities)
  • Health service providers (primary care, acute)
  • Social care support and housing providers, drugs and alcohol providers
  • Police, criminal justice and probation services
  • Community organisations, arts and leisure, businesses and public transport

2.8 Work with community and third sector organisations to maximise the potential for inclusive access to cultural, sports and leisure opportunities, including through the Coventry City of Culture activities in 2021.