By politics.co.uk staff
The government launched a new consultation on autism today by having five people with Autism Spectrum Conditions deliver the first responses in person to care services minister Phil Hope.
The meeting was recorded and is available to view on the National Autistic Society (NAS) website, YouTube and the new Department of Health (DH) consultation webpage.
The views expressed in the meeting will act as the first responses of the 20-week consultation which will see people with autism, their families, their carers and those involved in delivering services all give their views to help formulate government strategy on autism.
Mr Hope said: "People with Autistic Spectrum Conditions should have the same rights and freedom to enjoy life as everyone else.
"I want as many people as possible to respond to the consultation and let us know about their experiences, in their communities.
"The people I've met have strong opinions on what changes will make a difference to their day to day lives. With their responses to the consultation, and the views of people from across the country, we can make sure that the national strategy we'll publish at the end of the year really delivers where it counts."
Respondents will be asked their opinions on a range of issues including health, social inclusion, choice and control, awareness raising and training for staff and access to training an employment.
In addition to email responses people will also be able to fill in questionnaires or take part in regional and local discussions organised by the DH.
"After months of campaigning, the government have given adults with autism an unprecedented opportunity to have their say in a strategy which could make a real difference," said NAS chief executive Mark Lever.
"It is important that as many people affected by autism as possible take part to help shape the final strategy and the action that is needed at a local and national level.
"Without the right support autism can have a profound and sometimes devastating effect, so I urge the government to reaffirm their commitment to giving the strategy the legal force, which is absolutely necessary to deliver real change."