The Factsheet continues ‘During this telephone call the customer will be asked if they have any additional communications needs.’ Without support an adult with autism may be unable to identify their own communication needs and being unable to identify and label how their disability impacts on their life is one of the problems that adults with autism face. Therefore it is absolutely essential that adults with autism require an advocate/communicator to be present with them when the phone call is made.
We acknowledge the fact that Jobcentre Plus will support a customer’s right to have representation but an adult with autism needs to be aware of this at the first point of contact. Arrangements then need to be put into place to ensure that support is offered in the form of either an independent trained advocate or someone who the person with autism is comfortable with and who they are happy to help them to communicate effectively.
The factsheet continues by giving specific information for customers for whom English is not their first language, customers who are visually impaired and customers with hearing and speech impairments. The factsheet excludes anyone who has a diagnosis of autism which is a recognised communication impairment.
The factsheet is totally inadequate and should be withdrawn until a proper system can be put in place before any contact is made by Jobcentre Plus.