A bill designed to strengthen the support services for young people and adults with autism in Northern Ireland has been passed by MLAs at Stormont.
The news was welcomed by many right across the province, with the bill sponsor, Pam Cameron from the DUP, saying the approval of the bill was a “good day” for the Assembly.
The bill now puts a legal duty on the Department of Health to ensure that there is consistent autism provision and early intervention services throughout Northern Ireland.
It received support from all parties at Stormont. In a social media post, Autism NI said that the new legislation would be the “start of real change for autism services in Northern Ireland”.
Mrs Cameron said the bill would help ensure that services were “person-centred” and would end the “postcode lottery” that exists within the Northern Ireland health trusts when it comes to the current provision.
The bill will amend the 2011 Autism Act and will require the establishment of an independent autism reviewed, who will scrutinise those services in place.