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Rights for Children and Young People on the Autism Spectrum

As the parent or carer of a person on the autism spectrum living in the UK you have some legal rights, especially if your child has a formal diagnosis of autism. This is because the government considers autism to be a disability.

So, for example, in England, children with special educational needs are entitled to receive an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan from the local council. This document provides an assessment of your child’s needs and also sets out the education, health and social care services that he or she must receive. Parents and carers in the other countries in the UK have similar rights, although the details vary from one country to another.

This following section lists some of the key legislation, policy statements and guidance from government which affect children and young people on the autism spectrum (and their carers).

Please note: we have included some items that may be more relevant to adults but which you may still find helpful.


Specific Acts, Policies and Strategies

England

  • Autism Act (2009).  (2009). London: HMSO. Read Full Item (website page). Act which put a duty on the Government to produce a strategy for adults on the autism spectrum in England and to produce statutory guidance for local councils and local health bodies on implementing that strategy.
  • Care Act 2014. London: HMSO. Read Full Item (websitepage) | EasyRead. Act which builds on recent reviews and reforms, replacing numerous previous laws, to provide a coherent approach to adult social care in England.
  • Children and Families Act (2014). London: HMSO. Read Full Item (website page) | Young Person's Guide (PDF document). Act which amends existing legislation and services for chilren and young people, including those with special educational needs, in England.
  • Equality Act (2010). (2010). London: HMSO. Read Full Item (website page). Act which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
  • Fulfilling and rewarding lives: the strategy for adults with autism in England. (2010). London: Department of Health. Read Full Item|EasyRead  (PDF documents). Strategy which sets out how public services for adults on the autism spectrum in England should be delivered.
  • SEND: guide for parents and carers (2014). London: Department of Education. Read Full Item (PDF document). Explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) works.
  • Think autism: Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives, the strategy for adults with autism in England: an update. (2014). London: Department of Health. Read Full Item | EasyRead (PDF documents). Updates the strategy on public services for adults on the autism spectrum in England.

Northern  Ireland

Scotland

  • Equality Act (2010). London: HMSO. Read Full Item (website page). Act which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
  • Scottish strategy for autism. (2011). Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Read Full Item | EasyRead (PDF documents). Strategy which sets out how public services for adults on the autism spectrum in Scotland should be delivered.

Wales


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Updated
09 Feb 2016