The Autism Partnership Board have launched its autism consultation as part of its commitment to developing the city-wide Brighton & Hove Autism Strategy, which focuses on improving the lives of and celebrating the strengths of autistic people.
The Board is a joint partnership led by autistic people with the support of organisations including the NHS, police, Brighton & Hove City Council and voluntary and community sector organisations that work to improve the lives of autistic people across the city.
Have your say on the city-wide autism strategy
The consultation gives autistic people, their carers, family members and staff who work with autistic people the opportunity to share their views on services available in the area and how we can work towards becoming a city that recognises and values neurodiversity.
The responses received to the consultation will help develop six key themes to help shape the strategy. Working groups around the identified themes will then be developed to help influence the autism action plan for the next five years.
It is the ambition of the Autism Partnership Board that autistic people will be able to see improvements in their lives from year 1.
The survey focuses on autistic adults without a learning disability to address current gaps. The city already has an Adult Learning Disability Strategy and a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy, so autistic adults without a learning disability will be the current focus of this Autism Strategy.
Accessible public engagement sessions will also take place in May and June to discuss the strategy and will be open to autistic people and members of their support networks.
Taking a collaborative approach
Rob Persey, Executive Director of Health and Adult Social Care at the council, said: "We're really excited to announce the launch of this vital consultation and co-design the local autism strategy in partnership with autistic people and members of their support network.
"We're very keen to take a real collaborative and participatory approach in what needs to change to make Brighton and Hove an accessible city for autistic people.
"This includes all areas of social care, health, interactions with the police and justice systems, supporting healthy and meaningful relationships or feeling truly valued within our community."
Alice Conroy, Autistic co-chair of the Autism Partnership Board, said: "This work represents a meaningful paradigm, culture and power shift, incorporating progressive thinking around autism and neurodivergence - prioritising the strengths and lived experience of Autistic people and the view that autistic people are not broken, needing 'fixing', but experts and the experts of their lives and of their own experience.
"The emphasis on listening to Autistic people and prioritising their views, offers true participation rather than tokenism and respects "Nothing about us, without us.
"There is often a lack of understanding of invisible disabilities and accessibility needs. It's exciting that through this work, there is a commitment towards systemic change and 'doing things differently' to improve the lives of Autistic people.
"I am passionate that the Brighton and Hove Autism Strategy will promote a neurodiversity-affirming culture and practice approach that amplifies Autistic Voice, celebrates Autistic strengths and identifies supportive environments for us to thrive."
The consultation will run until Monday 19 June and can be found at Autism strategy consultation.
Those who are unable to complete the survey can also share their experiences by email or interview by sending an email to Lorne.Power@brighton-hove.gov.uk.
More information regarding the work of the Autism Partnership Board can also be found here: The Autism Partnership Board and Brighton & Hove Autism strategy in easy read.