(London,UK) Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair met with autism campigners in the House of Commons in Westminster last week, pushing autism right up the political agenda in the United Kingdom. It is likely that autism will now feature on Tony Blair’s legacy agenda. Mr.Blair is the first British Prime Minister to speak out on autism.

‘The Autism Report’ was presented to the Prime Minister in London by campaigner Ivan Corea, accompanied by influential parliamentarian, Lee Scott MP. The report called for an urgent review of autism services for the 587,900 people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Ivan Corea has also called on the Government to introduce a cohesive national strategy on autism and a 10 year plan of action and radical changes in policy. Campaigners together with Lee Scott MP have urged the Government to halt the closure of special schools.

Ivan and Charika Corea are parents and carers of a 11 year old son, Charin who has autism spectrum disorder. They set up the Autism Awareness Campaign UK in 2000. Since then they have been lobbying for better public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care for all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

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, further training for teachers and classroom assistants in both mainstream and special schools, 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 a data 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.

The call for an urgent review of autism services was backed by several leading British charities and community organisations.

The British Prime Minister’s website at No 10 Downing Street featured autism after the meeting in the House of Commmons:

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page11529.asp

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