Two months of extraordinarily hard work now see us on the threshold of our main objective – the publication of NAP’s report “The Autism Dividend: Reaping the Rewards of Better Investment”.
During November, four workshops were held in Belfast, Alloa, Cardiff and London where the main recommendations of the project report were presented to small groups of experts drawn from parliamentarians, civil servants, charities, service providers, parents and autistic advocates. The meetings started with presentations on NAP and the policies, practices and initiatives in each of the four devolved nations. At every workshop this led to intense discussion about the state of autism provision, the relevance of the NAP recommendations and the future prospects for their implementation in each of the four devolved nations. So much material emerged from the meetings that the NAP report will necessarily contain only abbreviated descriptions of the legal frameworks and policies in place in each nation and summaries of the main points of the discussion. We will publish fuller versions on our website over the coming weeks.
By some minor miracle, a full draft of the report was completed at the beginning of December and sent out to our Strategy Board, Autistic Advisory Panel, Expert Group and also to a large number of organisations whose endorsement would add authority to our findings. Accommodating the views and suggestions for improvement of so many people was not an easy task but the final version was delivered to the designers on time. We were overwhelmed by the unanimously positive reaction to the report from those both inside and outside NAP and we were pleased to list two dozen organisations as endorsers.
This is an opportunity to thank all those who have contributed, mainly of course, the team at LSE whose research over nearly two years forms the bulk of the report, but also the many people who sent us comments, suggestions, corrections and words of support throughout this monumental task.
We now look forward to the launch of the report at the four meetings in London on 17th January, Cardiff on 1st February, Edinburgh on 2nd February and Belfast on 14th February. We will be making the report available on our website on or around the 17th January.