(London, UK) Autism Campaigners in the United Kingdom have welcomed Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech at the United Nations in New York in the presence of the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon.

The Prime Minister pledged his commitment to support the Millennium Development Goal of education for all children upto primary school level. Gordon Brown told the high powered audience in New York that he wanted to ‘call into being, beyond governments alone, a global partnership for development and together harness the energy, the ideas and the talents of the private sector, consumers, non-governmental oranisations, churches and faith groups and citizens everywhere.’ Gordon Brown is currently on a visit to the United States. He also met with US President George Bush over the weekend.

Ivan Corea, head of the Autism Awareness Campaign said: ‘We welcome Gordon Brown’s speech at the UN and his commitment on education for all children. There are 60 million people with autism around the world, many autistic children in Africa and Asia suffer without any education. Autism is confused with mental illness in some countries – children are kept at home without access to education. We urge Gordon Brown to address this issue with international leaders,’ he said.

In Sri Lanka for example, they say there are 39,000 children with autism. Only a handful have access to education. Many stay at home due to cultural issues and the confusion over autism as a mental illness. The education authorities in Asia and Africa need training on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

The Millennium Development Goal on education must include the education of children with disabilities.

‘We appeal to Gordon Brown to speak out for children with disabilities including children with autism in Africa and Asia. They are being left behind by education systems,’ said Ivan Corea in London.

There are over 500,000 people with autism in the UK, over 90,000 children are on the autism spectrum. Recently a leaked study from Cambridge University suggested that 1 in 58 children may have autism. The Autism Awareness Campaign UK has appealed to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to back a national strategy for autism and a 10 year plan of action on autism in the UK.

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