I have a fantastic brother Indi who is 17. We are at the cusp of transition and like many fellow parents, siblings and carers; it is a very confusing and challenging journey. Two key areas that the Autism Strategy looks into is improving access to the services and support people need to live independently within their community and enabling local partners to develop relevant services to meet identified needs and priorities in their local area.
So when I set out to find out what was happening in Croydon with regards to implementing the Autism Strategy, I was at a bit of a loss as to where to start. I began by approaching the local Learning Disability Team. This did not bear much to fruition, as they did not know anything about the Strategy and where the Council was with regards to implementing it. I tried calling various departments in the Borough to no avail.
Getting nowhere, I approached local forums to see if there was anything happening at a grassroots level that I had not been aware of. I approached the local Parents In Partnership Forum and got in touch with the Carer's Forum. The forums have been immensely helpful in getting an idea of what is going on within the local area in general, regarding, accessibility to services. I was able to actually network with people more in the know and feel supported. That feeling of being supported is crucial especially when you don't know if you are the only one trying. I was able to get details of the Learning Disability Partnership from a member within the forums and am now waiting to hear back from someone in the Council regarding exactly where they are.
I know this is a very long-winded way to go about it perhaps. However, given that I was not getting anywhere on my own, I preferred this route of joining up with local forums simply because there's always strength in numbers, especially if the end goal for all of us is a similar result, i.e., better access to services and lobbying for services not currently available for our young people.