|Tony Blair answers the Big Autism Question
|In the Big Conversation
|Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign
paid tribute to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the first Prime Minister to speak about autism in public ever since
Dr.Leo Kanner came up with the word 'autism' in 1943.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder.People with autism have
difficulty in communication, social relationships and have difficulty with empathy and imagination. Autistic children may
play alone, some lack the ability for creative play, they may display indifference, laugh or cry inappropriately, make no
eye contact, some like spinning objects, others may talk incessantly on one subject, for example - trains and make a one sided
interaction - say what they want to say.
Dr.Leo Kanner was the first to make a serious study of this mysterious condition
which he called 'early infantile autism' way back in 1943.
Tony Blair is the first British leader to acknowledge the
needs of the 520,000 autistic community in the United Kingdom in the House of Commons and outside the Palace of Westminster
Ivan Corea said: 'The Prime Minister has shown his commitment to the autistic community in the UK by publicly
talking about their needs and about autism in general and we commend the Department for Education and Skills and the
Department of Health for issuing guidelines to all professionals and institutions. We also welcome the fact that autism will
feature in the National Framework for Children. We urge local educational authorities, NHS Trusts and Social Services across
the UK to provide public services for every single autistic child and adult in the United Kingdom.'
The Prime Minister
noted that 'Autism is one of the least understood but most frightening and difficult of conditions. I welcome initiatives
which aim to improve our knowledge and understanding in this difficult area. People with autism lead isolated lives. Their
social and communication difficulties place great stress on their lives. It is important that we should all be sensitive to
Members of all parties have backed the Autism Awareness Campaign in the UK. The Prime Minister personally
backed 2002 as Autism Awareness Year when he was quizzed by Linda Perham MP (Ilford North) during Prime Minister's Question
Time on 9th January 2002. (Please see the Downing Street Wesbite under Prime Minister's Question Time for 9th January 2002)Earlier
on that day Linda Perham MP had launched her historic debate on autism backing Autism Awareness Year. Mrs. Perham was supported
by members of parliament of all parties. Never before had so many MPs attended an adjournment debate on autism.
the House of Lords Baroness Pola Uddin spoke with passion supporting the Autism Awareness Campaign and calling for more services
in Autism Awareness Year on the 25th of March 2002.
Autism Awareness Year was an outstanding success. What started
as a small acorn of an idea in the front room of parents Ivan and Charika Corea of Buckhurst Hill in Essex is now the largest
ever movement for autism in the UK. It's success is due to the commitment, enthusiasm and drive of charities such as the British
Institute for Brain Injured Children, the Disabilities Trust, National Autistic Society, Autism London and over 800 organisations.
This was also the first time that organisations worked in partnership with each other in the cause of autism. There has never
been partnership working on such a large scale where autism was concerned.
Partnership working is absolutely crucial
if we are to help every autistic child and adult in the UK. Health, Education, Social Services and the Voluntary Sector need
to work in partnership with Schools, Colleges and Employers if they are reach out to autistic children, young people and adults.
The numbers of autistic people in the UK are rising all the time. Parents and carers want to know what causes autism.
Is it the MMR vaccination, is it genetic, does pollution trigger it? We need long term independent research on the causes
of autism. Meanwhile we need public services for our children and for adults including those with Asperger's Syndrome. We
need to end the postcode lottery to health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care. Many people are suffering
as a result of the lack of services even in 2003, the European Year of the Disabled.
further information please see the Prime Minister's comments on autism on www.autism-awareness.org.uk
*Please see Prime
Minister's Question Time on 9th January 2002 on the House of Commons website and the Downing Street website.
Perham's major debate on autism(9th January 2002) is on the House of Commons website.
*Baroness Pola Uddin's debate
on autism (25th March 2002) is on the House of Lords Website.
*Ivan and Charika Corea's website is on www.geocities.com/ivan_corea/autismawarenesscampaign.html.
Autism Web Ring has also been set up by the Corea Family - to register please see the above website.
*Please see the
DFES and DOH websites for information on the guidelines relating to autism and in the information on the NSF for Children.
Parents and carers who have problems with education or those who need information
on Autism, Asperger's Syndrome or need general advice, could telephone the following helplines:
INDEPENDENT PANEL FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVICE (IPSEA)
NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY
0800 358 8667
Tribunal Support Scheme-
0800 358 8668
BRITISH INSTITUE FOR BRAIN INJURED CHILDREN