Axia A S D

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Axia A S D's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Axia A S D is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.axia-asd.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | AXIA ASD
Director Dr Linda Buchan (left)
and IT Manager Amy-Louise
Buchan (right)
(From left to right) Sue Power, Education Lead,
Chris Conde, Office Manager, Elspeth Bromiley,
Deputy Director and Head of Therapy
Axia ASD was founded by Dr Linda Buchan – a consultant
clinical psychologist who qualified in 1978 – and
her late partner, Albert, in 1993. The diagnostic and
post-diagnostic service is now based in Chester but operates
worldwide. Linda currently runs an experienced and diverse
multidisciplinary team with expertise in clinical psychology;
speech and language therapy; systemic family therapy; and
mental health nursing in the field of autism. So successful
are they in such pursuits that, in March 2018, they won the
prestigious National Autistic Society Award for Outstanding
Health Services in recognition of their efforts in relation to
autism. On these and other topics, Linda says more.
Axia has had the privilege of diagnosing many thousands of individuals. We work
on a strengths-based model of neurodiversity, recognising the skills and potential
of the individuals we meet while addressing the barriers to thinking. We work in
partnership with individuals and their families, acknowledging that they are the
experts on themselves, and we aim to deliver expertise in a partnership of respect,
trust and empathy, remaining non-judgemental at all times. We have co-produced
a Post-Diagnostic Support Group for adults, which is attended by upwards of
40 individuals. One of our members said: “[It’s] given me the courage to talk
openly about being autistic – and every time I do so, someone benefits. Someone
talks about their own experience with family/friends, and very often people ask
questions about themselves. It makes connections.”
FACTS ABOUT
AXIA ASD
»Director: Dr Linda Buchan
»Founded in 1993
»Based in Chester
»Services: Diagnostic and post-
diagnostic services for those
with neurodiversity
»Linda has written a book
titled “How did that Happen?
Memoirs of a Dyspraxic
Diagnostician”
»Axia pride themselves on
embracing neurodiversity,
employing people with autism,
dyspraxia, ADHD, dyslexia
and Irlen’s syndrome on their
staffteam
Axia ASD
39AXIA ASD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
We also try to connect with individuals
post-diagnostically in innovative and
creative ways, including via Facebook,
Twitter, our interactive website, our
Film Society and our Anime Amigos.
The work of our Film Society and Anime
Amigos is available on our website, as
well as on other social media platforms.
We also offer an Open Room: a space
for people to hang out, play games
and discuss their interests. Moreover,
we care immensely about the impact
of the diagnosis on people’s lives.
Common reactions to the diagnosis
include relief, regret at not having
had the diagnosis earlier, hope for the
future, and confirmation and validation
of their own beliefs.
Our clients’ experience
We regularly seek feedback through
postal feedback forms, social media
and our website. In 2017, one of our
feedback comments went as follows:
Thank you for believing in me
and giving me the diagnosis. I
can now live my life knowing
that it is alright to be wired
differently. Onwards and
upwards. Thank you for posting
out such a detailed report and
enclosing the websites, etc.
Linda has changed my life.”
Challenges
Our major challenge is to ensure that
we continue to offer a timely, high-
quality service. We are noticing a
rapid increase in private referrals, so
it is imperative that we continue to
uphold our compliance with the NICE
guidelines’ 13-week wait time.
We’re also challenged more and more
by the needs of autistic adults who
find a lack of support services available
to them. Many past clients who do
not live in our area often contact us
seeking advice about where they can
find local support. We aimtokeepup
to date with the services that are
available and work hard to make
links with all organisations that could
potentially offer support to both
individuals and their families. Many of
the parents who are long-term carers
for these individuals can sometimes
feel frustrated, and, although we are
not always able to signpost them, they
appreciate a listening ear.
At Axia, we work hard to strengthen
“working in partnership with
schools”. We’ve recently appointed an
Educational Lead, Sue Power, who is
a qualified English teacher. We aim to
improve the connections we have with
schools and to ensure we involve them
as fully as possible in the assessment
process. In order to do this, we have
worked closely with teachers and our
NHS colleagues to share best practice.
We are developing new materials that
can be used easily and effectively by
teachers to ensure that we ask the
right questions and gain meaningful
observations, bearing in mind their
already heavy workloads.
Furthermore, we work hard to provide
clear guidance to teachers about
how they can implement reasonable
adjustments in their classrooms.
We’re well aware that they have
the responsibility of making the
curriculum accessible for a wide range Calvin Atkinson, Director
and self-proclaimed
Nerd Consultant
We’re also
challenged
more and more
by the needs of
autistic adults
who find a
lack of support
services
available to
them
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | AXIA ASD
of individuals, and we are planning
ways of working with schools to
provide practical ways to ensure that
reasonable adjustments are made.
Political commentary
The Autism Act 2009 was the first
ever disability-specific law in England.
It was preceded by the Autism Bill,
which originally focused on adults and
children. However, the government felt
that they could help children in other
ways. The act focused on adults and
was viewed very positively, resulting
in the production of a clear strategy
and statutory guidance in 2010. The
Department of Health published
Implementing Fulfilling and Rewarding
Lives. This was the first strategy for
adults with autism in England, but,
unfortunately, no new money was
made available.
In 2013, the government asked for
feedback from adults with autism,
parents, carers and professionals
about how well the 2010 strategy
had been implemented. A new
strategy, Think Autism, was published
in April 2013. It recommended the
establishment of autism partnership
boards and stated the importance
of linking diagnosis to individual
needs. Subsequently, the government
published new statutory guidance in
2015, replacing the existing guidance
from 2010. It includes the following
recommendations: that autism
awareness training should be provided
and that there should be a clear
pathway to diagnosis and assessment
for adults with autism. It also included
five new chapters:
»Preventive support and safeguarding
»Reasonable adjustments and equality
»Employment
»Criminal justice
»Supporting people with autism and
complex needs
The Autism Bill for Wales was
published on July 14, 2018, placing
new duties on public services to
improve the lives of autistic people
in Wales. Unfortunately, the waiting
times for diagnosis are extremely
long – on average, 2-3 years for both
children and adults. The National
Autistic Society launched a campaign
in 2015 calling on the government
and NHS England to take action on
diagnosis waiting times.
In 2017, the government gave their
commitment to start recording and
publishing waiting times. In August
2018, NHS England announced that
autism and learning disability would be
a clinical priority in their upcoming ten-
year plan to improve health services in
England. The NAS director of external
affairs described this as “a potential
game changer, it will mean that autism
is a core part of the NHS”. All of us at
Axia agree and are delighted with this
new initiative.
We have
worked closely
with teachers
and our NHS
colleagues to
share best
practice
One of the top providers
of diagnostic and post-
diagnostic services

www.axia-asd.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Axia A S D. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister