Welfare minister introduces new plan to help people with autism

Summary

Flemish welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen has presented a 15-point plan to assist people with autism, including communication counsellors and support for caregivers

More transparent policy

Flemish welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen has presented a plan with 15 concrete actions to improve the lives of people with autism. The plan was developed by experts who came together in an autism task force.

About one in 160 people are born with autism, a developmental disorder that limits their ability to communicate and interact with others. The task force found that people with autism often have trouble finding their way in society. Transition phases in their lives, such as moving house or changing schools, are particularly difficult.

The plan’s priorities include providing more opportunities for autistic people to participate in society and to address the needs of their families and caregivers. It also stipulates that a counsellor should be available to people with autism to help in communicating with authorities such as the juvenile department, schools and workplaces.

Because of budgetary restrictions, it will not be possible to carry out all 15 actions immediately, but the development of more transparent and adequate provision of care is at the top of the list. Current support options, said Vandeurzen, are too often unknown or insufficient.

Photo courtesy Solidair