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World autism plea

Fri April 3rd, 2009

Global experts called for more resources for children's mental health issues to mark World Autism Day yesterday.

In Britain new guidance was launched for service providers and the World Health Organisation pledged to provide technical assistance to countries seeking to improve services.

WHO assistant director-general Dr Ala Alwan said: "It is a deep concern that the global burden of disease attributed to mental disorders continues to grow, particularly in developing countries.

"It is essential to prioritise, implement and fund projects on autism spectrum disorders and other mental disorders in children in developing countries."

An outline of the British plan was launched yesterday by the care services minister, Phil Hope.

The publication "Services for adults with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC): good practice advice for primary care trust and local authority commissioners" covers how best to plan services to support young people with autism as they begin using adult services, and how to develop a better understanding of the needs of people with autism and design services to fit their requirements.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Hope said: "Many people with autism are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Today on World Autism Day I want to make clear I am fully on their side.

"I want the NHS to start driving improvements in services for people with autism, starting with taking this guidance to heart. It will be a small start in what I hope will be a big movement for change."

He would like to ensure that "the right services are available to everyone who needs them".

Mr Hope explained that NHS and local authority staff have asked for more advice on providing services for adults with autism.

He said: "There is great work out there. Local teams in Gloucester and Liverpool are providing high quality services for adults with autism and this guidance will help other Trusts learn from their best practice.

"I am also looking forward to launching the first national strategy for adults with autism later this month"

Tags: UK News| World Health | Child Health | Mental Health

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