MP's autism bill

A Conservative MP has introduced a Bill that requires the Secretary of State to make a referral to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to develop and publish quality standards for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Robert Buckland said the terms ASD, autism and Asperger's syndrome are increasingly entering public consciousness, with diagnosis numbers continuing to escalate.

Despite this, too many people are not having their needs met, Mr Buckland stated - especially with regard to accessing appropriate diagnostic services, health care, education and social care.

He explained his Bill is an attempt "to plug a gap" that exists between the commissioning and provision of care for people with ASD.

Such individuals should receive care from trained staff, be assessed for any co-existing mental health issues and receive appropriate written and verbal communication about the condition, Mr Buckland argued, adding those with suspected ASD need to be referred to a specialist team.

Commenting on the news, Dr Fiona J Scott, Chartered Psychologist, Director of Spectrum Specialist Consultancy Ltd and Visiting Academic, Autism Research Centre, said: "I am encouraged to see the move for a Parliamentary Bill on Quality Standards for autism spectrum conditions."

"This would fulfil a vital role in strengthening and supporting the implementation of the recent Autism Act. Currently families and individuals affected by autism and Asperger's Syndrome face something of a lottery in terms of professional understanding and support - and whilst the situation is improving for children it remains inconsistent - and almost across the board support and understanding is extremely poor for adults."

"Without agreed Quality Standards any existing or proposed guidelines remain just that, guidelines, rather than much needed rights and expectations."

To find out more about autism go to the Society's 'Awareness of adult autism - questions and answers'

The Society has developed a series of e-learning modules to raise awareness of adult autism. These will be delivered through the BPS Learning Centre and appeal to a range of learners, including members of the public.