(London) Autism Campaigners in Great Britain have asked the British Prime Minister to end the patchy services for all people with autism. Ivan and Charika Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK have stated in London that a postcode lottery exists in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care where the 587,900 people with autism are concerned and that it is preventing children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome from achieving their full potential. Campaigners are calling for a 10 year program of action and a radical change in policy.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are urging the British Government to provide ‘equality of opportunity’ for all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

According to the National Autistic Society in London there are 587,900 people with autism, 133,500 young people under the age of 18 have autism. Numbers are rising in the United Kingdom  and campaigners are worried that demand may outweigh supply in terms of services.

‘We are urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to end the postcode lottery to autism services. Life is a hard struggle for many parents and carers and people with autism. There are children who do not have statements and they have no access to the services they so desperately need. We are asking Tony Blair to look into the whole area of autism as a matter of urgency, before he leaves office in the summer and formulate plans for autism – to end the suffering. Children with autism have so much potential – they have the right to an education, to health services.Equality of opportunity should embrace all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome,’ said Ivan Corea in London.

The Autism Awareness Campaign set up by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea have been campaigning for better public services for all people with autism since 2000.The inspiration behind the powerful UK campaign was their eleven year old son Charin who has autism spectrum disorder. The couple struggled to access public services for their son and were forced to fight for his rights.
It also inspired their member of parliament, Lee Scott MP for Ilford to launch a landmark debate on autism in Westminster Hall in March this year. This debate is now regarded as an important debate on autism.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Lee Scott MP said: “The dogmatic approach of placing all pupils with special needs in mainstream schools has frequently benefited neither them or the children whom they are educated alongside.

“Many of us have at some time been seduced by the theory of inclusion which seems so nice and reasonable and politically correct, but there is clear evidence that it does not work for every autistic child,” said Lee Scott.

The Ilford North MP also quizzed the Prime Minister on autism in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in Westminster on 21st March 2007. Tony Blair said that autism was a serious issue.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are calling on the on the British 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. There is an urgent need for ring fenced funding for autism services in the UK.

Autism Campaigners are also calling on the Government to launch data a collection program across the UK to determine the exact number of people with autism. Campaigners are unsure if there is proper data collection across the UK to determine exact numbers of adults and children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Autism Awareness Campaign UK website:

http://uk_autism.tripod.com  

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