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SLC To Start Own OSS Service
South Lanarkshire Council have given a unequivocal commitment that they will create their own One Stop Shop for families dealing with autism.
The move comes two weeks after the pan-Lanarkshire service was under threat due to funding being stopped by the Scottish Government.
As late as last Friday, elected members were being briefed on the reasons for closing the Motherwell-based service.
Parents were left fuming at an internal briefing paper that recommended putting an exit strategy in place from the service.
However, council leader Eddie McAvoy intervened after being contacted with service users affected.
By early Tuesday, council officers had moved to allay any fears that the service would be scrapped and said they were looking at setting up a South Lanarkshire-only service.
A spokesman said: “South Lanarkshire Council has been actively seeking a way forward on this issue since the Scottish Government advised that it was ending its funding for the One Stop Shop.
“We want to reassure parents with a clear commitment that the support they currently enjoy at the One Stop Shop will continue, through the creation of a One Stop Shop for South Lanarkshire.
“We are in discussions with partners to determine the best way forward, and to see how this would best fit with other support for people with autism in the area. We have already had direct contact with parents on this and a meeting with them is being arranged to discuss this.
“But we can be clear that there will continue to be an Autism One Stop Shop covering South Lanarkshire.”
Scottish Government funding was due to run out at the end of this month, and it is understood the council are hoping for a seamless transition.
The news was welcomed by Amanda Ayton, from Spittal, whose four-year-old son, Lyle, was diagnosed with autism just days before Christmas last year.
Since then she has been using the One Stop Shop, a facility whose specialist staff have helped equip Amanda and husband Stuart with the knowledge they need to deal with Lyle’s condition.
However, she also urged caution, saying she had not heard anything about the move and no-one had consulted with her.
She said: “Of course, if this happens it would be a victory for us, we just want the support for Lyle to continue.
“But is it going to be the exact same service? Will it provide the same support?
“Autistic children don’t like change, and many of them will have built up relationships at the current base.”
Speaking of the impact the One Stop Shop on her family, Amanda added: “Lyle was diagnosed on December 23 and on that day they said his name would be put down for the Early Bird introduction to Autism.
“The first course for that is in September. That’s nine months after diagnosis.
“Without the One Stop Shop we would have had no support. Diagnosis is a very difficult time, especially if you are not expecting it.”