Since implementation of the previous strategy, a range of data is collated to provide a comprehensive picture of the position on referral for autism assessment and diagnosis and these can viewed at the link below.
In March 2021, due to the constraints the pandemic placed on the development of a longer term autism strategy, the then Minister of Health, Robin Swann, agreed to publish a cross-departmental Autism – Interim Strategy for the years 2021-2022 with a commitment to publishing a longer term strategy in 2023. Development of this strategy is currently underway.
In developing the interim strategy a commitment was given that a monitoring report on the implementation of the strategy would be published on an annual basis; the first being published in October 2022. A final Monitoring and Evaluation Report has been collated to draw the interim strategy to a close.
The report has demonstrated the commitment of Departments and public bodies to increasing understanding of the needs of autistic people, their families and carers within their organisations and in the delivery of their services; this is likely to increase significantly in the coming years as implementation of the Autism (Amendment) Act (NI) 2022 progresses.