Monday, 3 June 2013

Revamped petition for joint attention interventions in the UK

Ok, I admit it!  I am like a London wait over two months for the next blogpost and then two come along at once.  What can I say....that's how it is for me.  It's no coincidence that I'm posting just after the half term break :)
In January I started off my '52 things' with a petition to the UK government to fund a randomised controlled trial of RDI.  It has been niggling away at me for a while that this probably isn't the right approach to securing a debate in parliament (the purpose of the petition).
So I have started a new petition with a broader appeal - one that focuses on lobbying for interventions that target joint attention to be made more widely available.  Given what we know about the importance of joint attention in child development and the fact that we also know that joint attention is a key developmental gap for people with autism (a foundational block from which the potential to master many other developmental milestones springs), it seemed appropriate to focus on making this a key campaigning objective.  
Hopefully people who know the power of not only Relationship Development Intervention, but also SCERTS, Intensive Interaction, Floortime, and other developmental interventions that focus on improving joint attention will be able to sign up to help the petition on its way to parliament.
It may all come to nowt.......but what's lost by trying?  It's only half an hour of my time to set it all up and 5 mins of yours to sign it.  The petition can be accessed here and the text of the petition is included below, so you can decide if you want to swing on over to sign.
You need to be a UK citizen or living in the UK and be able to give a UK address in order to sign.
Petition (revamped) to UK government
Responsible department: Department of Health
There is an increasing amount of research that shows the promise of autism interventions that focus on developing joint attention to improve outcomes for children and adults with autism including the development of language, the development of higher level thinking skills and an increased capacity for emotional regulation. 

Mastery of these competencies makes a huge difference to quality of life and life chances.

There are a number of developmental interventions for autism that target joint attention but knowledge of these is not widespread amongst professionals, never mind parents and people with autism. 

We call on the UK's Department of Health to begin being accountable to service-user stakeholders by working with key autism researchers, NAS, parents and carers and people with autism themselves to set up a working group to develop a strategy that will enable interventions targeting joint attention to become widely available within each local authority area.

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