Eligibility and autism
Some of the difficulties faced by people with autism could be addressed or reduced if low-level, often relatively inexpensive services were provided promptly.[35, 45] This notion of early intervention is often hampered by what people with autism sometimes experience as inflexible and reactive services, and a lack of knowledge about the ways autism might affect a person can limit the support they are offered.
Care Act: Eligibility
Care eligibility can be difficult to negotiate for autistic people, and previous systems such as Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) or, in Northern Ireland, ‘Care management, provision of care and charging guidance’ [77, 78] measured care eligibility against risk to independence. Most local authorities only provided services to people whose needs were high, which made the provision of early intervention services less likely.
The Care Act 2014 has as one of its focuses the need for preventative services (‘preventative’ does not mean services that aim to prevent autism but those that aim to prevent social care needs from escalating), emphasising in its guidance ‘the importance of preventing or delaying the development of needs for care and support and the importance of reducing needs that already exist’. This means that even where there is no eligibility for continuing care and support, there is still a duty to promote wellbeing through signposting to alternative services in the community such as voluntary organisations.