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It is imperative that we work to raise the understanding of autism and other learning disabilities to ensure a higher standard of life for those affected. The SNP has gone a long way to do this. However, as it is a devolved issue, most of the work the SNP has done concerning autism has been done in Scotland.

This work includes the SNP Scottish Government launching the 10-year Scottish Strategy for Autism in 2011. This Strategy declared autism a national priority. However, the SNP is always looking to improve so in 2017 the Scottish Government announced the opening of a consultation aimed at refreshing this strategy.

Furthermore, since 2015 the SNP Scottish Government has supported the development and promotion of the Autism Training Framework – Optimising Outcomes – for those working in the health and social care sector, as well as other resources including a learning space to inform workforce development; invested in Autism Network Scotland to promote the work of the strategy and share good practice with autism professionals, third sector, autistic adults and family carers in Scotland; and launched a Knowledge Hub to support networking, collaboration and informing sharing among the professionals working with autistic people.

The SNP Scottish Government spends more than £2 million each year to directly support learning disability stakeholders in a number of national and local initiatives around Scotland. An example is the Scottish Government funded Scottish Learning Disability Observatory. This organisation makes a specific contribution to the improvement of the health of people with learning disabilities and people with autism by publishing information, data and interpreting the evidence, to inform and shape service responses and improve health over time.

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Website issued by Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, Member of Parliament for West Dunbartonshire (SNP)

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