Page last updated at 20:25 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Report reviews autistic support in Suffolk

Concerns over the support available to children with autism and their families in Suffolk have been raised in a report to the county's health scrutiny panel.

The report by the National Autistic Society Suffolk (NASS) surveyed the views of parents in the county.

Families with autistic children said they found it hard to access NHS Suffolk's child services as it has a narrow criteria for what is autism.

NHS Suffolk said it has invested more in the past year in autism care.

'Growth in demand'

The NASS report found that parents believed Suffolk's children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) staff lacked training in the condition.

Parents are also concerned that CAMHS only sees autistic children if they show symptoms of anxiety or depression, and those with violent or aggressive symptoms are turned away.

Tracey Dowling, director of strategic commission with NHS Suffolk, says in a report that Suffolk has not in the past invested in autistic services to keep pace with the constant growth in demand.

She said the county has new guidelines in place and has been investing in the service over the past 12 months.

Ms Dowling said staff are working together to fill any gaps in the present service.

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