Autism Awareness Campaign - United Kingdom

Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka
Our Campaign
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Tony Blair on Autism
Prime Minister's Questions
Dr.Stephen Ladyman MP answers our Autism Question
Autism Awareness Week 2004
The Autism Campaign in 2003
Autism 2002 Address at the King's Fund
AAY 2002 Ages of Autism Address
Early Day Motions in Parliament
Scottish Parliament Debate
House of Commons Debate
House of Lords Debate
Autism Questions in Parliament
Autism and the Ethnic Minorities in the UK
Autism Campaign in the SAARC Region
Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka
Speech and Language Therapy
Fish Oil and Autism
Autism Resources
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A massive Autism Awareness Campaign was launched in Colombo, Sri Lanka by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea.
According to international experts, there are 30,000 autistic people in the island of Sri Lanka, however there is no data collection so the figure could be much higher.
Autism/pervasive developmental disorder refers to a whole group of disorders characterised by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialisation and communication.

Symptoms of PDD include severe communication problems such as understanding language; difficulty to relating to people, objects and events, unusual play with toys and other objects; difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings and repetitive body movements or patterns.

Autism, the experts suggest, is a brain disorder characterised by impaired social interaction and communication skills and limited activities and interests is the most characteristic and best studied PDD.

Other types of PDD are Asperger's syndrome, Rett's Syndrome,childhood disintegrative disorders and others.

Autism is a neuro- developmental  disorder - all of us have neurones in our brains to process thought,they need to fire in the correct order - in the brains of an autistic child or adult they don't fire at all or they just misfire.
That is why you cannot give an autistic child complex commands.Everything has to be kept well and truly simple.
As in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, parents, carers and autists are struggling to access public services in health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care in Sri Lanka.
What has happened in the past is that these children and adults have either been institutionalised or they have been kept at home. The problem is understanding.
Parents and carers have no real information, they don't know their rights, there is no real help or support with only one or two schools who cater to children with special educational needs.
We commend Chitra Lane School in Colombo who are helping autistic children - they have some expertise where autism is concerned including access to speech therapy. The Sri Lankan Government needs to replicate the Chitra Lane School experience, right across the island.
Autism is a time bomb waiting to happen in Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse must take action in order to help and support the Autistic Community in Sri Lanka.
Autism is on the increase - even in the island of Sri Lanka. If there is a massive increase in numbers of autistic children will the the government be ready to cope with such an increase?Would service providers be  able to provide public services?



Nirj Deva MEP of the highly influential EU Health Committee

Support for the Autism Awareness Campaign came from a distinguished Sri Lankan, Niranjan Deva-Aditiya MEP and a member of the highly influential European Union Health Committee.
The European Union are supporting the Autism Awareness Campaign - 2003 is the European Year for People with Disabilities. Nirj Deva. met with Ivan and Charika Corea in Colombo and pledged his whole hearted support.
Autism is a very serious educational and health issue not only in Sri Lanka but also in Europe where there has been a rise in numbers of people with Autism.

The dynamic Otara Chandiram

Ivan and Charika Corea appraised many people in Sri Lanka about the crying needs of the Autistic Community from Ministers of the Sri Lankan Government, parliamentarians of all parties at Kotte, influential businessmen and women including the dynamic Managing-Director of Odels - Mrs. Otara Chandiram. The Odel Foundation are backing the Chitra Lane School who enrol autistic children and children with special educational needs. The Chitra Lane School is one of only a handful of schools who deal with autistic children in the whole of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka batting Superstar Sanath Jayasuriya

Autism Awareness ribbons were also presented to Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's leading batsman at Lords Cricket Grounds in London. Sanath was informed about the massive Autism Awareness Campaign and he has met with Ivan, Charika and Charin Corea on several occasions in London and in Essex.

Dr.Vijaya Corea former DG of the SLBC with Lord Dholakia, both support the Autism Awareness Campaign

One of Sri Lanka's leading media personalities, Dr. Vijaya Corea former Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (now of Peace For All Ministries in Colombo) also supports the Autism Awareness Campaign.
On a recent visit to London, Dr. Vijaya Corea learnt about autism and how this condition affects families.

Sri Lanka Parliament in Sri Jayewardenapura, Kotte

We welcome the new Disability Legislation in Sri Lanka and the new Disability Policies launched by the Government. We were also delighted to hear the wonderful debate in parliament in Kotte conducted by members of parliament of all parties who pledged their support to all people with disabilities.
We urge parliamentarians in Kotte to debate the whole issue of Autism and the crying needs of the Autistic Community in Sri Lanka - it is now a very serious health and education issue facing the nation. 

Autism Awareness Ribbon

Our recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka:

To set up and fund an AUTISM FOUNDATION in Colombo - which will give help and support to parents, carers and autists in Sri Lanka; undertake research into the causes of autism in Sri Lanka; help with the dissemination of information on Autism and Asperger's Syndrome in English, Sinhala and Tamil; provide advocacy services for parents, carers and autists.
To launch a data collection project right across the island.
To set up an AUTISM COMMITTEE consisting of health, education, social services professionals, the voluntary sector/charities/NGOs - joint working and joined up thinking is absolutely crucial for all autistic people, they can also look at good practice and make recommendations.
To introduce tough new legislation in parliament similar to the Disabilities Discrimination Act in the United Kingdom to protect the rights of all autistic people in Sri Lanka; introduce new employment laws giving access to the world of work.
Introduce a special examination and a special qualificiation for autistic people who may or may not be entered for GCEs, A levels ; introduce special assessments for autistic children who are in mainstream schools.
Open more Special Schools wherever the need arises.
Encourage inclusion in mainstream schools - both in the Government Sector and in private schools.
Introduce compulsory disability training for all school principals and staff.
Introduce disability awareness - including autism to all mainstream school children.
Introduce disability units including a study on autism in all teacher training courses including teacher training degree courses in universities.
Appoint a Disabilities Minister who will also look at the needs of autistic children and adults across the Disability Spectrum.
Launch an Autism Awareness Week in Sri Lanka.
We recommend that the Ministers of Health and Education visit other countries such as the UK and liaise with Ministers looking at how these countries provide public services for autistic people also looking at good practice in other countries.
Request funding and expertise  from other countries to help set up the Autism Foundation and Autism Projects in Sri Lanka.
Organise an Autism Conference in 2004 in Colombo aimed at raising awareness through seminars, workshops - for health, education and social services professionals and the voluntary sector - we are prepared to bring a team of experts from the United Kingdom- provided the Government of Sri Lanka funds their visit.
Launch a recruitment and retention campaign to attract special educational needs teachers and specialist speech therapists right across Sri Lanka.
Encourage new ways of thinking where Disabilities and Autism is concerned - education from infant school to univesity is a key area, employment is another area, we also need a debate on Autism and the Elderly.
We urge the Ministry of Health to introduce the CHAT system of early diagnosis for autism - initiated by world autism expert Dr. Simon Barry Cohen of Cambridge University.
We urge the Ministry of Education to develop educational strategies in mainstream schools for children and young people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
We appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to provide more funding for public services in health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care for people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
We urge President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse to make a policy statement on Autism and reach out to the Autistic Community in Sri Lanka.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga