Campaigners call for more support for adults with autism

February 26, 2009 12:39 PM

National Autistic Society logoCampaigners including The National Autistic Society (NAS) will be calling for more help for adults with autism at an event at the Meadows Community Centre in Cambridge on Thursday, February 26 which is attended by Cambridge MP David Howarth,

The event marks the eve of the Autism Bill's second reading in Parliament, which came about after the NAS I Exist campaign revealed many people with autism don't receive the kind of support that would help them achieve their potential in adulthood and at least one in three adults with the condition are experiencing serious mental health difficulties as a result.

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge said: "Events such as this are a great opportunity to hear directly from people affected by this complex disability. Autism is much more common than people realise and the postcode lottery many people experience when trying to get help and support is simply unacceptable.

"Autism is not a matter for party politics, but a critically important issue that is far too often overlooked and which affects people in every constituency. I'm delighted to be able to give my support to the campaign and will be backing the Autism Bill on February 27."

Beverley Price, the National Autistic Society's regional officer for East Anglia said: "Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition that affects adults as well as children, yet many adults with the condition struggle to access the help they so desperately need. It does not have to be like this - the Autism Bill aims to address many of the problems highlighted by the I Exist campaign, so we will keep campaigning until we see real change at ground level."

Speakers at the event include Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Cambridge Autism Research Centre, and Mark Ty-Wharton, an adult with Asperger syndrome from Cambridge. The event takes place from 7pm-9pm (refreshments at 6.30pm) on Thursday, February 26 at the Meadows Community Centre, 1 St Catharines Road, Cambridge, CB4 3XJ.

The Autism Bill, which has its second reading in Parliament on Friday, February 27 is being taken forward by Cheryl Gillan MP as a Private Members' Bill, and is being backed by MPs from all parties. Measures proposed include: improving local information on the number of children and adults with autism, providing effective support from child to adult services and tackling the chronic lack of help for adults with the condition.

For more information about the I Exist campaign and the Autism Bill, please visit www.think-differently.org.uk

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