Autism cam­paign­ers crit­i­cise coun­cil

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

Par­ents of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren say they are be­ing ig­nored by coun­cil chiefs as emails and re­peated calls for a meet­ing to dis­cuss autism pro­vi­sion go unan­swered.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil vowed to con­sult peo­ple af­fected by autism in shap­ing its new autism one stop shop.

But par­ents say there have been no fur­ther meet­ings since May 10 and re­peated calls for mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sion go unan­swered at ev­ery level of the lo­cal author­ity.

Autism cam­paigner Karen Noble says she has emailed coun­cil­lors, the coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive, head of autism ser­vices and staff work­ing on the ground since the new shop launched.

Karen said:“We are telling them our con­cerns on a ground level and they are telling us they are tak­ing it up the line. They are either not do­ing that or they are and it’s be­ing blanked.

“I have asked nu­mer­ous peo­ple ‘please will you meet with us?’. Ev­ery­one says no. They are not will­ing to sit down and have a chat. It’s like if they ig­nore us for long enough we will go away.”

Karen added:“We filled in a ques­tion­naire, we have been given a sec­ond ques­tion­naire which is the same as the first. How many times do we have to tell them we need an ex­pe­ri­enced autism ad­vi­sor?”

Liam Pur­die, head of chil­dren and jus­tice ser­vices, said the sec­ond ques­tion­naire was an ex­am­ple of the coun­cil’s ef­forts to con­sult par­ents be­fore mak­ing long-term ar­range­ments.

He said:“This con­sul­ta­tion has been ex­ten­sive and taken many forms, in­clud­ing the reg­u­lar con­tact we have with lo­cal peo­ple who are cur­rently ben­e­fit­ing from the in­terim ser­vice we are pro­vid­ing at Hamil­ton Ac­cies FC.

“As part of this con­sul­ta­tion two open days were held at The Jean Brown­lie Cen­tre, Hamil­ton, to give ser­vice users a chance to view it as a po­ten­tial base.

“We have cir­cu­lated sur­vey ques­tion­naires to all par­ent/car­ers, chil­dren and stake­hold­ers who vis­ited the cen­tre and the feed­back will help us de­velop the per­ma­nent ser­vice.

“Feed­back from the con­sul­ta­tion will be shared with par­ents/car­ers and elected mem­bers and will in­form how we de­velop and de­liver ser­vices in part­ner­ship across all of South La­nark­shire.”

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