Here to help with questions relating to learning disability and its impact on family carers
This was a significant debate. Many MPs have clearly been affected by personal experience of autism within their own family or circle of friends; or by their efforts to support and represent constituents affected by autism. Speakers included members of several All Party Parliamentary Groups, and notably the Chairs of various Select Committees.
The spectrum of issues covered in a relatively short debate reflected how autism affects every aspect of life: diagnosis, care and support, education, housing, transition planning, employemnt, physical and mental health, benefits and assessments, the criminal justice system…
Throughout the debate, Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, spoke for the government. She acknowledged the depth and complexity of the problems faced by people on the autistic spectrum. She stated that she had recently chaired the first annual accountability meeting, reviewing the governments national autism strategy, attended by representatives from all the relevant government departments, not only the Department of Health and Social Care, but also the Department for Transport, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and the Home Office.
She concluded “We all want to live in a world and in a country where autism is never a barrier to the opportunity afforded to others. World Autism Awareness Week enables us to continue keeping this issue high on the agenda and in the minds of policy makers, professionals and members of the public alike, which is where it should be.”