West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has pledged her support for creating a society that works for autistic people and their families. She made the commitment at an All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) event in Parliament earlier this year, marking the 10th anniversary of the Autism Act and highlighting the work that still needs to be done.
Under the landmark Autism Act, alongside other important laws like the Care Act, autistic people in England are entitled to the care and support they need. But a recent inquiry by the APPGA, supported by the National Autistic Society, found that autistic people and their families in England still aren’t getting enough support. Progress has been held up because there isn’t enough understanding of the Act’s duties on councils and the NHS and of how to implement them.
There are around 700,000 autistic children and adults in the UK and a further three million family members and carers. This means that around 1 in 100 people in each MP’s constituency are autistic.
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. It is a spectrum. This means autistic people have their own strengths and face varying challenges. Some autistic children and adults need 24-hour care and support. Others simply need clearer communication and a little longer to do things at work or school. Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can miss out on an education, struggle to find work and become extremely isolated.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I was delighted to attend this important event, marking the 10th anniversary of the landmark Autism Act.
“I am committed to representing everyone in the area and this of course includes autistic people and their families. Too many autistic people continue to face inequalities. I want to change this and am proud to pledge my support to creating a society that works for autistic people.
“We also need to see a reduction in waiting times for an autism diagnosis so advice and support can be provided much earlier.”
Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:
“Thanks to everyone who attended this important event, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Autism Act.
“This law has made a big difference. For instance, there is now a route to diagnosis for adults in almost every part of the country and the Act is still the only law dedicated to improving support and services for a specific disability.
“But it’s not enough. Its impact has been limited by underfunding and poor understanding of the legal duties on public services. The APPGA’s recent inquiry showed clearly that there is simply not enough support or understanding for autistic people in our society.
“We, and the many MPs who signed our pledges, are committed to changing this and to creating a society that works for autistic people and their families.”
For more information about autism, please visit autism.org.uk
About the National Autistic Society
- The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for autistic people.
- We are here to transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.
- Since 1962, we have been campaigning for autistic people’s rights and providing support and advice to autistic people and their families.
- To find out more about autism or the charity, visit www.autism.org.uk.
- Autism is a lifelong disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.
- There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.
- All autistic people have difficulties with communication and social interaction.
- Autism is a spectrum condition. This means autistic people have their own strengths and varying and complex needs, from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things at work and school.
- Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may:
- be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult
- be unable to or find it harder to speak, face delays processing information or find it hard to hold conversations
- experience intense anxiety around unexpected change and social situations
- become so overwhelmed that they experience debilitating physical and emotional ‘meltdowns’ or ‘shutdowns’.
- Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can miss out on an education, struggle to find work and become extremely isolated.