Cardiff and Vale Integrated Autism Service logo

Our multi-agency, all–age Integrated Autism Service (IAS) for people with ASD works closely with partnership organisations – The Welsh Local Government Association, National Autism team, the third sector, and local authority and mental health services – across the care pathway.  The IAS contributed the development of the Autism Code of Practice due to be published in 2021 and are represented in the National Autism Advisory Group.

 

The team works hard to develop positive relationships – being helpful, friendly, and accessible in order to up-skill people in their autism knowledge and inspire them to become autism advocates. Ultimately, this will ensure that all services will improve in their ability to support autistic people and their support networks.  In 2020-21:

1589 people were supported by the IAS

1186 of these were new referrals

504 requests were from professionals for consultation, training and/or advice

97 referrals for carer support

585 referrals for autism diagnostic assessment or support for autistic adults

88 diagnostic assessments were offered in the year

50 of which were offered in the final quarter

Support is typically structured using the Spectrum Star, service user-focused outcome measure.

In true partnership ethos, these parts of the service are led by the local authority community workers, supported by the clinical team. If there is a clear need that cannot be met by another service, clinical and support staff offer individual support to autistic adults and parents/carers.

Due to the restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAS were not able to offer diagnostic assessment for several months. And also experienced a period of reduced staff capacity due to long term sickness.

The IAS continued to offer support to autistic adults, parents, carers and professionals in a timely manner through the pandemic by quickly adapting the service to offer virtual, advice appointments, and response to email and telephone enquiries.

The service also successfully ran the Autism Post-diagnostic Support Group programme online, where IAS clinicians offer consultation and joint working to many professionals, including those in mental health and local authority services as well as third sector services.

The impact of diagnosis – one person’s story

The IAS are aware of the huge impact that a diagnosis can bring for many people. These reflections confirm just how empowering this can be and how much a person can achieve!
I wanted to share my reflection exactly one year on since I received my ASD diagnosis – see below. Thank you again, it’s been so important to me to know my true identity …it has given me a lot of confidence. This year has been really productive for me – I have completed a certificate with Harvard University, started a 2nd job as a university clinical lecturer, spearheaded a fully digital dermatology appointment service for acne and am setting up my dermatology private practice.   
Thanks again, X  
…One year ago today I found out something about myself I never knew – I was diagnosed ASD. My whole life suddenly made sense – why I see things differently to others, find social situations awkward, struggle with change and unpredictability and like everything ordered and structured. This diagnosis has given me a renewed identity and purpose.  
I am one of the fortunate 16% of autistic adults in the UK who are in employment. My high functioning autism, despite its challenges is a blessing in my life and is the reason for my grit, determination and high academic achievement.   
I vowed to put this diagnosis to good use and am now an expert advisor to the Department of Health working on a multi-million pound project developing a mandatory training for health and social care workers in autism and learning disability…I am truly grateful for this diagnosis, I just wish I had known it was a part of me much sooner.  

AIS – a person-centered service

The following story reflects the scope of the integrated services.
Person X lives alone in the family house since his father passed away in 2018. X was diagnosed by the IAS just before the first lockdown. X had no support from services at the time of referral.
X was having difficulties around finances and completing probate. The IAS referred X to an advocate who is now supporting X with these challenges.  X will continue receiving support from the advocate for as long as this is needed.
At the start of the support a face to face appointment was offered to build a good rapport and establish good communication. However, due to restrictions on face to face appointments, X has predominantly been offered and engaged well with telephone support.
Telephone contact began with weekly telephone calls, as X only turns his phone on for an arranged appointment. This can bring about some challenges with staying in contact. These calls were also used to arrange contact with other services for X. Phone calls are now every three weeks as X can now independently arrange appointments and stay in contact with the other services linked in.
X identified that he would like support around understanding and developing relationships and so this has been the focus of the IAS work. It has provided the opportunity for X to consider the impact of autism on them as an individual.
Regular contact, especially during lockdown has helped build rapport and trust with X. This has resulted in other services also being able to engage and the IAS being able to take a step back in the amount of contact that is offered and needed.
The IAS has been able to liaise with other professionals providing additional interventions such as a care needs assessment. X was assessed by Social Services who have assigned a Support Worker to help X prepare to move.
Safeguarding concerns were raised which resulted in the IAS liaising with services to raise awareness of the impact of autism on X’s potential for vulnerability from others and risk of neglect. The IAS continues to work closely with the relevant services regarding these concerns.
The IAS will continue to offer support to X for as long as there is an identified need related to autism.
The IAS will continue working alongside Social Services to support an increased understanding of autism and raise awareness with regard to needs assessment.

What this support means to the service user

Person X feels that they are ready to move to their own house and is looking forward to putting the new understanding regarding developing relationship in to practice when they moves. X stated that they have been practicing these learnt skills in work and is using the opportunity to develop their skills further.
X has explained how they enjoy working alongside their advocate and the support offered has helped them make big decisions such as choosing a new house.
Consent was gained to share these reflections. The person’s name and staff names have been removed.

Contact the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Integrated Autism Service on:

 

 

What the Integrated Autism Service (IAS) provides

  • Assessment of adults without a learning disability or with a mild learning disability who do not have a known moderate to severe mental health difficulty.
  • Liaison, support and consultation in relation to the diagnostic assessment and support of adults with a known moderate to severe mental health difficulty, or moderate to severe learning difficulty.
  • Support for adults with autism without a learning disability or with a mild learning disability without a known moderate to severe mental health difficulty.
  • Support for parents of children with autism without a learning disability, or with a mild learning disability, without a known moderate to severe mental health difficulty.
  • Support for parents, families, partners and carers of individuals with ASD.

More information on Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Click here.