Report: Improving services for adults with autism in Calderdale

This report from Healthwatch Calderdale highlights a range of issues faced by adults in Calderdale who have, or who are seeking, a diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition (ASC). It outlines recent improvements to services, including the commissioning of a diagnostic pathway, and the funding of the Autism Hub which is now in its second year.
Despite these developments Healthwatch Calderdale (HWC) continues to hear regularly from adults with ASC, who are raising the same concerns as before, and whose lives are still being negatively affected by the lack of appropriate
services and support. In the report, they explain briefly what ASC is and how it can affect adults lives, including
higher rates of suicide and mental health issues than the general population, as well as frequently having a range of co-occurring conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and epilepsy.
They also clarify the benefits for adults who are on the autism spectrum of having a diagnosis, but also the difficulties they may face in trying to get an assessment. Data included in the report shows that the diagnosis rate for adults with ASC in Calderdale is extremely low, and they believe that the reasons for this need to be explored.
Healthwatch Calderdale also include a range of recommendations, some of which could be easy to action, such as improved data collection, increased training for professionals, and better understanding and use of reasonable adjustments. Other recommendations may be more challenging, but may be achievable through new ways of working, and better collaboration between services.