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Asperger's Syndrome

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support is given by his Department to persons with Asperger’s syndrome to assist them in integrating into the work environment. (106368)

Many disabled people, including some with Asperger’s syndrome, make very effective use of the mainstream job placing services provided by Jobcentre Plus. For those who need more support, Jobcentre Plus provides a range of specialist disability measures for those disabled customers who cannot be helped by these services. Disability employment advisers and incapacity benefit personal advisers can help to find suitable local employment.

People with Asperger’s syndrome may make use of the Access to Work programme, if they need help with the additional costs, caused by their disability, of travelling to work, or can be helped through the provision of a support worker. A support worker can help in a number of ways, for example as a job coach to provide help in breaking a job down into simple steps to make learning easier or as a mentor, advocate or counsellor.

WORKSTEP. People with Asperger’s syndrome may also make use of this programme of supported employment which can provide tailored support to find, and retain jobs for disabled people who have more complex barriers to finding and keeping work. WORKSTEP provides the support and opportunity for people to progress to open employment where this is the right option for the individual. Longer-term support continues to be available for those who need it.

In addition, new deal for disabled people (NDDP) is a voluntary initiative offered to customers on a disability or health-related benefit. A network of providers offer support and services to those on eligible benefits who want to enter work, with the aim of achieving lasting, paid employment. NDDP is available to customers across the full range of health conditions and disabilities, including those with Asperger’s syndrome.

Our highly successful Pathways to Work services, currently operating in 20 Jobcentre Plus districts, help people with a range of health conditions and disabilities. The Pathways to Work programme is primarily aimed at new incapacity benefit customers, but is also available to existing benefit customers on a voluntary basis.