Autism Awareness Year
The Deputy Presiding Officer (Mr Murray Tosh): The final item of business today is
a member's business debate on motion S1M-2428, in the name of Mr Kenneth Macintosh, on autism awareness year in 2002. The
debate will be concluded without a question being put. I ask those members who wish to speak in the debate to press their
request-to-speak buttons as soon as possible.
That the Parliament joins with the Scottish Society for Autism, the National Autistic Society, Autism
Alliance Scotland, the Learning Disabilities Trust, the British Institute for Brain Injured Children and all other autism
organisations across Scotland in declaring 2002 as Autism Awareness Year; recognises the everyday challenges faced by children
and adults on the autistic spectrum, and their families, in gaining appropriate support from the statutory services, and further
recognises and congratulates those voluntary organisations, including the East Renfrewshire Autism Support Group, which work
tirelessly to support all of those affected by autistic spectrum disorders.
Mr Kenneth Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab): 'Next year is autism awareness year. That is
the case because of the efforts of one family from a small town in Essex whose son developed autism in infancy. The story
of Charin Corea will be familiar to many of us. Charin was a healthy, vital baby. At 18 months he was engaging, vocal and
animated. By 24 months he had become withdrawn, he was avoiding eye contact and he had lost the ability to speak. He was in
a world of his own.
Charin was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum and as having a communication disorder, but
the troubles of Charin's family were just beginning. Their story is even more familiar than that of Charin; it is a story
of frustration and disappointment, pain and exasperation, as they fought for Charin's right to basic schooling and for the
support and speech therapy that would allow their boy to fulfil his potential. The Coreas had to battle with the education
authorities for Charin's right to attend a mainstream primary school. They had to battle with the health authorities for the
language and speech therapy that Charin needed for him to develop. They had to battle with social services for appropriate
care and support.
Battles of that sort are being fought today around Scotland and the United Kingdom. Parents have to
jump through hoops to get their children's needs addressed. The situation for adults is possibly even more worrying.'
To read the full debate please click on the following link: