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NDTi’s autism work case study: Working with Lincolnshire

“Without NDTi we wouldn't have had this Autism Strategy”
– Autism service user representative, Lincolnshire

The challenge

NDTi worked with colleagues across social care, health, education and the non-statutory sector to develop an all-ages Autism Strategy for Lincolnshire. The challenge was to develop an inspirational but practical Strategy that had the buy-in of all the essential agencies and was informed by people with lived experience.

Our approach

This was an innovative project that included setting up an Autism Involvement Group, both virtual and actual, of young people and adults living with autism, to influence and inform the development of the Strategy.

We used creative approaches, such as a Garden of Good, to work with very young people with autism to ensure their voices were heard. The Autism Involvement Group was critical to developing a Strategy that was embedded in the experience, hopes and expectations of people with autism.

We held engagement days for colleagues from the full range of agencies and disciplines across the county to map and articulate current and aspirational pathways through diagnosis, transitions and life events, and to identify gaps and overlaps in provision.

We carried out one-to-one interviews with commissioners, key practitioners and leaders, including in primary and specialist healthcare and criminal justice services.

We conducted a brief review of service availability across the county.

The outcome

Lincolnshire successfully launched its All-Ages Autism Strategy in April 2015. The result, which reflects Lincolnshire's open and determined approach, can be found here.

The strategy includes a model of care that recognises everyone’s fundamental needs, rights and aspirations and has a number of critical building blocks. All of this is underpinned by 8 strategic principles:

  1. Equalities-based
  2. Reflects parity of esteem
  3. Strengths-based
  4. Person-centred
  5. Proactive and preventive
  6. Safe
  7. Local, mainstream and inclusive
  8. Ambitious but sustainable

The Strategy features an action plan that includes:

  • Awareness raising and training, moving beyond services and extending into the community to strengthen community capacity
  • Involvement and collaboration with people with lived experience and carers, ensuring that the Autism Partnership Board widens participation and increases involvement
  • Data systems and information gathering, including developing partnership arrangements for data sharing
  • Service provision, to include a full service review and pathways analysis.

Josh, an expert by experience who took part in the work, speaks about one the principles service users jointly developed with commissioners and NDTi here: