(London, UK) Autism campaigners are caling on the British Prime Minister to reach out to autistic children and support them in the wake of a Cambridge University study suggesting a dramatic increase in numbers.

According to the latest research, yet unpublished, as many as one in 58 British children may have autism. Seven academics at Cambridge University, six of them from its renowned Autism Research Centre, undertook the research by studying children at local primary schools – the team was led by Dr. Simon Baron Cohen. The Cambridge University study found that one in 58 children has either autism or a related autistic spectrum disorder. Across the UK that could be as many as 210,000 children under 16.

‘If this study from Cambridge University confirms a surge in autism then the Prime Minister Gordon Brown must act now to help autistic children. Many struggle without proper public services. A postcode lottery still exists. We are urging Gordon Brown to provide a world class education for all children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, to provide new specialist autism schools, even Special Needs Academies and autism units equipped with sensory rooms in mainsteam primary and secondary schools; to provide young people with access to further education and higher education, to provide labour market opportunities for people with autism who are able to work.’ ‘Equality of opportunity’ must include every single autistic child and adult in our country. They have a role to play in society – they can also contribute to the economy of our country, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome have so much potential,’ said Ivan Corea who heads the Autism Awareness Campaign UK.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK is looking to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to launch a national strategy on autism and a 10 year plan of action to help parents, carers and people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The Autism Awareness Campaign’s call to launch a national strategy is backed by leading charities, voluntary organisations and people from faith communities.

Ivan Corea recently met Gordon Brown on the campaign trail. Mr. Brown said the Government needs to do more to help all children with disabilities.

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