I have just lived through eight days which I think might well have changed the face of autism in Sunderland. At least I hope so. Last week Autism-in-Mind held a meeting where adults with autism and parents and carers, discussed autism in Sunderland and what we felt our priorities were. We came up with a list as long as our arms about things that are important to us. One of those things was Autism
On Wednesday Sunderland held it's first ever autism consultation event. Councillor Graeme Miller gave the opening address at the consultation event, and during that address he announced that Sunderland would have five Autism Champions. One for every locality in Sunderland. Less than a week after we fed back to Sunderland Local Authority about the need for Autism Champions, they not only listened to their Autism Community - they acted upon what they had been told. This is a great start to herald the arrival of our brand new Autism Partnership Board.
The consultation event was not only well attended it really did feel as if we were being heard. For once I thought, things are beginning to move in the right direction.
Today Colin and I met with Sunderland CCG. The meeting was the result of our attending a CCG local involvement event. We had raised the issue about autism not being included as a CCG priority over the next five years. At our meeting today we were told that one of the priorities has been amended and will now include the words 'Learning Disability and or Autism'
Colin and I have also been invited back to meet with the CCG again after the first meeting of our Autism Partnership Board. Things are really beginning to take shape.
It's been a long time coming but then my moto has always been 'Everything comes to she who waits' Right now I am happy to say that it was worth the wait. The last 7 days in Sunderland could well have set the scene for autism in Sunderland for the next 7 years. That will do for me right now.