AQW 2202/22-27 – Support for Adults diagnosed with Autism

Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health what support is currently available to adults diagnosed with autism in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust; and when does he plan to review the support provided in each Health and Social Care Trust.

Minister of Health: (i) Currently within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust the Adult ASD Service provides post diagnostic information sessions to support adults diagnosed with autism to understand how autism may affect them.

The ASD Service also offers Intervention Sessions in areas such as emotions management, social skills development, friendships, relationships, daily living skills and safety. Some adults with autism may also have a learning disability diagnosis, and may be able to attend day services or day opportunities, based on assessed need.

In addition, the Northern Adult Autism Advisory Service provides a service for autistic individuals aged 16+, and/or their parent/carers. This service is part of a network of organisations that work together to support adults with autism.

This Advisory Service provides person centred advice, support and signposting in relation to topics including employment, education, benefits, housing and Autism Services. Supports include a monthly drop in facility, currently operating the 1st Tuesday of every month. Individuals can avail of this service via telephone and zoom.

Virtual educational sessions related to specific topics such as emotional health and wellbeing, transitions and life skills are also provided. These monthly educational sessions currently occur the last Monday of each month, (excluding Bank Holidays) and are advertised on the NHSCT Facebook page on an ongoing basis.

ii) A review of adult autism services is an action of the Autism- Interim Strategy 2021-2022.