Local MP calls for more support for people with autism

October 15, 2008 2:20 PM

Mark signed up to sponsor the new Autism Bill

Cheadle MP, Mark Hunter this week signed up to sponsor the Autism Bill in Parliament currently being promoted by The National Autistic Society, after visiting a local youth centre for children and young people with autism.

Mr Hunter decided to support the Bill after local constituents with autistic children contacted him with concerns about the lack of support for people with autism. Mark was also encouraged by these parents to visit Aspirations, a youth club for ten to 18-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as an example of how local services can support people with autism and their families. When Mark visited the centre he met with the Chief Executive of Aspirations, Paul King, as well as with parents, staff and the young people using the service. The centre, based in Stretford and covering the whole of South Manchester area, provides access to social & leisure opportunities, information & advice, access to specialist counselling and workshops to over 220 people, and aims helps these young people to adapt to the change between full time schooling and the adult environment of college or work.

The Autism Bill is a draft Private Members Bill which aims to create a brighter future for people with autism by improving local planning of services, providing effective support from child to adult services, appropriate staff training, and the promotion of appropriate packages of support to enable independent living for people with the disability.

Speaking after the launch Mr Hunter said: "Half a million people in the UK have autism, with 40% of adults with autism living at home with their parents and over 60% relying on their parents financially. The Government needs to address this problem and take urgent action to try and give people with autism the support they need to become more independent and achieve their potential in adulthood.

"Local centres like Aspirations do this brilliantly, giving the children and young adults there access to services to prepare them for the adult world, but we need more centres like that. Autism is much more common than most people think and it is crucial that there is appropriate support at a local level. This important bill has the potential to make a real difference to people living with autism in my constituency and I am therefore very happy to give it my support."

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