Better autism awareness will allow autistic people to unlock their full potential
To mark Autism Awareness Week, Cheryl Gillan MP argues that a basic level of understanding of autism in society would be transformative for autistic people and their families.
This year the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, which I am proud to Chair, and the National Autistic Society are encouraging families, individuals, schools and offices to get involved in World Autism Awareness Week from 27 March to 2 April 2017.
More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, that’s 700,000 people in the UK. Together with their families this means autism is part of daily life for almost 3 million people in the UK. While most people have now heard of autism, very few really understand what it means to be autistic, the difficulties that autistic people and their families can face, and the strengths that autistic people have.
Autism is a spectrum disorder. All autistic people therefore share certain similarities, but autism presents itself in different ways in each person. Some may have learning difficulties or mental health issues, but with the right support all of them can live a fulfilling life. People with autism have a great number of talents to offer and it is therefore important that we raise awareness of this condition to unlock that potential.
World Autism Awareness Week 2016 year was a huge success, with people up and down the country getting their local communities and schools involved in raising money and learning more about autism. This year we aim to do even more, and get people running, quizzing, baking and donning their Onesies once more, to get everyone understanding a bit more about autism and improving the lives of the 700,000 autistic people in the UK.
Whether you want to fundraise or raise awareness on your own, with your family or community, at school or at work, there are resources to help you think of exciting and fun ideas to get everyone involved.
Autism is complex and autistic people and their families don’t expect or want people to be experts. But a basic understanding from everyone could be transformative.
To find out more, visit the National Autistic Society website: http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/world-autism-awareness-week
Cheryl Gillan is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Chesham and Amersham
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.