New plan to improve the lives of people with autism

East Sussex County Council Chief Executives and Director's portraits.People with autism will benefit from a new plan aimed at improving the lives of people with autistic spectrum conditions.

East Sussex County Council’s Autism Plan outlines a co-ordinated approach aimed at offering information and support for adults with autism and raising awareness of autism across the county.

The plan, based on responses to a consultation held last year, includes new online resources, support groups, training for staff and a scheme to boost the employment prospects of individuals with autism.

Keith Hinkley, the county council’s director of adult social care, said: “We want people with autism to be able to build their confidence, boost their independence and job prospects, have more choice and control over the support they receive and feel more connected with the wider community.

“The aim of the Autism Plan for East Sussex is to bring together all the work around autism and to make sure we take a co-ordinated approach.

“It’s important that local businesses and public services ensure their staff are aware of the barriers people with autism face so they can provide a better service to these people, and the free online training and resources will make achieving this much easier.”

The plan, which states how the National Autism Strategy will be put into action in East Sussex, includes:

– A new autism section on the council’s website offering information, advice and support at

– Free online training to help people working in local businesses and public services understand more about autism and training courses for staff working in social care organisations – available online at

– A free booklet entitled ‘Understanding Me – Autism’, available from the website or by emailing

– A new autism and Asperger online forum run by the charity Autism Sussex, including an online drop-in clinic moderated by a specialist in autism every Thursday at 2pm

– Autism Sussex support groups for adults with autism and separate meetings for parents and carers meeting once a month in Eastbourne and Hastings. More information is available online

– A supported employment project funded by the county council and supported by Autism Sussex, providing training and opportunities to gain an accredited qualification in volunteering skills and supporting people with learning disabilities and autism to be part of an organic food social enterprise.

– An Autism Partnership Board has been set up to share information about how the plan is working. Members of the board include representatives of people with autism and carers, provider and carer organisations and council officers

People can get in touch with the board by emailing or writing to Autism Partnership Board, B Floor, North Block, East Sussex County Council, County Hall, Lewes, BN7 1UE.