Autism and Learning Disability

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th November 2018.

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Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce the inequalities faced by autistic people, and people with a learning disability. (S5O-02560)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

We are committed to transforming the lives of autistic people and people with learning disabilities. We have listened to their aspirations and needs and want to address the inequalities that they face throughout their lives. Our programme for government sets out our priorities and shows that we want autistic people and people with learning disabilities to have the same freedoms and opportunities as other citizens of Scotland.

Next month, we will launch the refreshed keys to life implementation framework, which recognises that people with learning disabilities have the same aspirations and expectations as any other person.

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

Can the minister assure me that discussions are being held right across Government portfolios—in education, health, employability, social security and other departments—so that the holistic approach can be used to ensure that people with autism and learning disabilities are given good life opportunities and the ability to improve their independence?

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

As the member highlighted, autistic people and people with learning disabilities need holistic support across health, social care, employability, education, criminal justice, social security and social connectedness. In refreshing both the autism and learning disability strategies, wide engagement has taken place across the relevant Scottish Government portfolios. An example of that is the cross-policy links between employability and equality colleagues that led to a commitment to halve the disability employment gap. Another example was the engagement with social security colleagues that led to the inclusion of autistic people when designing the new social security system.