(Westminster, UK) British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke out on autism yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in Westminster in London. The Prime Minister was quizzed on autism by leading parliamentarian Lee Scott MP for Ilford North.

Lee Scott MP recently launched a landmark debate on autism in Westminster Hall – the debate is now regarded as one of the most important debates on autism. Scott has taken up the autism baton in parliament and is seeking a 10 year program of change for all people with autism in the United Kingdom. His efforts in parliament in London are being backed by MPs of all parties.

Autism is one of the most serious educational and health issues in the United Kingdom. Numbers of children with autism are rising every year. According to UK researchers one in 100 children have autism. There could be significant numbers in 10 years time.

The call for radical change has come from the Autism Awareness Campaign in the UK launched by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea who are constituents of Lee Scott MP. They have a 11 year old son Charin who has ASD. They have lobbied and campaigned tirelessly for public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care according to British MPs who are now backing their call for a 10 year program of action on autism.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are calling on the on Government to undertake a 10 year program of building specialist autism schools, building autism units in mainstream primary and secondary schools, tackle the failure of some secondary schools in bringing in educational strategies to deal with autistic children in a mainstream setting, access to further education and higher education, labour market opportunities for people with autism and to tackle the whole question of bullying and autistic children, the provision of recreational activities for autistic children are among the issues they wish the Prime Minister Tony Blair to address before he leaves office in the summer.

The Prime Minister acknowledged in PMQs that autism is a very serious issue, Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign said: ‘I am delighted that the Prime Minister spoke out on autism in PMQs in the House of Commons on Wednesday. He has acknowledged that it is a serious issue and that the Government should be doing more for all people with autism. If numbers are rising we must act now to provide public services. We are calling for radical change in order to help all people with autism in the UK.’

Tony Blair created history by being the first sitting British Prime Minister to talk about autism in 2002 in the House of Commons. Last year he was presented with an autism awareness ribbon by the Autism Awareness Campaign.

To listen to Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, London for Wednesday 21st March 2007 please access the website:

http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page306.asp  

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