At a reception at the Houses of Parliament, Sharon Hodgson MP, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), pledged to promote more autism awareness in Washington and Sunderland West.
Sharon met local families and heard moving testimonies from people living with autism, a lifelong condition which affects over 3,000 people in every Parliamentary constituency.
The event was attended by nearly one hundred Parliamentarians and the President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher, who said:
“Awareness of the word autism has increased dramatically since I first became involved many years ago, but understanding of this complex condition is still desperately low, that’s why I'm very grateful that so many Parliamentarians came to the event."
“Parliamentarians have the power to make a real change in the lives of those with autism by helping us to spread understanding among their local communities. I do hope they will work with us in trying to make the world a more welcoming place for those affected and their families."
“I was incredibly impressed and deeply moved by what I heard today from people living with autism."
“Around 1 in 100 people in the UK have the condition and many have battled to get their needs identified, diagnosed, understood and then met"
“Sadly, negative public attitudes and misconceptions about autism can harm families and individuals and limit their opportunities, so we need greater awareness of the condition in our area to improve access to public spaces, employment and services. This will enable more people living with autism to play an active role in their community and to achieve their full potential.”
About the APPGA
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) is a formal cross-party backbench group of MPs and Peers who share an interest in autism. It was set up in February 2000. Its role is to campaign in Parliament for greater awareness of autism across the spectrum. The National Autistic Society provide the secretariat. Over 200 members of Parliament and the House of Lords are members of the APPGA in this Parliament.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over, or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Visit the National Autistic Society website