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Government strategy report requires Jobcentre Plus staff to be trained to deal with autistic jobseekers

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Jobcentre Plus staff are to receive autism training in line with the adult autism strategy published on 3 March, the Government has announced.

The adult autism strategy states all new and existing Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) will have autism training and recommends that awareness training in autism is given to all people working in the public sector.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is now calling for the strategy's delivery plan, due out later this month, to set out clear and concrete measures to improve Jobcentre Plus customer services and benefits processes for adults with autism. 

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS and chair of the strategy's external reference group, said; "Too many people with autism say their experiences of the employment and benefits system are marred by anxiety, confusion, delays and discrimination. It is absolutely vital that people with this serious, lifelong and disabling condition are able to access the right help and services if seeking employment and are supported financially when they cannot work.

"This long-awaited strategy is the first step to ensuring they will be able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as the rest of society. Now, we want to see this backed by a strong delivery plan that will achieve real and lasting change."

Research for the NAS's Don't Write Me Off report found a third of adults with autism - that's 100,000 - live without a job and without essential benefits, over a third of people with autism said their DEA's knowledge of autism was ‘very bad' or ‘bad' and 82% needed some kind of help to apply for benefits, but few were made aware of their right to an advocate. In the worst cases parents were actively blocked from helping.