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Lib Dems call for Autism support 

March 21, 2021 3:42 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Jerry RoodhouseThe Liberal Democrats have passed a motion at their Spring party conference that would see changes made to the Equalities Act and Autism Act to allow those with autism to achieve their full potential. The Motion also calls on the Government to support individuals who are diagnosed with autism.

The motion calls on the Government to provide support to those who are diagnosed with autism with sweeping reform including:

Education about neurodivergence to be included on the curriculum in the same way mental health is currently. With increased teacher training.

Reduced wait lists for diagnosis by increasing funding and making diagnosis more accessible, by stopping gatekeeping and reducing steps required for diagnosis to be official in NHS terms.

A change to ensure Autism is not represented as decreasing quality of life, and equal access to support and diagnosis for autistic women, girls, non-binary individuals and ethnic minorities.

Guidance on employment to be updated to ensure the Equality Act 2010 is fulfilled and employers can support autistic individuals in their employment. Further improvements to the Autism Act 2009, to create obligations on employers and local authorities to support autistic people with their care assessments.

Autistic offenders to be met with support and not punishment when the crime is non-violent. The creation of sensory spaces to be provided for autistic individuals engaging with the justice system.

Commenting, Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Paddox and Eastlands), said:

"Every individual should be able to achieve their potential and Liberal Democrats want to see more support for autistic people in Rugby, Warwickshire and across the country. By including lessons on neurodivergence in schools curriculums, putting in place funding to speed up the diagnosis process and ensuring that autistic people can be supported by their employers, we can begin to create a society that works for people with autism."

Full motion as passed can be found here: F22: Autism Support (libdems.org.uk)

  • Autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people in the UK (Child's Quarter).
  • Only 8% of autistic people and 5% of family members felt that health and care services had improved since the Autism Act (Pears Foundation).
  • Only 16% of diagnosed autistic individuals are in full time employment and 32% in part time employment, but many adults remain undiagnosed due to unnecessary hurdles in the assessment system.
  • 77% of unemployed diagnosed autistic individuals want to work (National Autistic Society).
  • Misdiagnosis of autistic individuals is far too common - especially in ethnic minorities, women, girls and non-binary individuals.
  • Autistic people are up to seven times more likely than the general population to be involved in the criminal justice system (Economic and Social Research Council).