Monday, July 03, 2006

Autism Northern Ireland Needs your Help

I spoke recently at the Northern Ireland Local Government Association highlighting the welcome support which has already been given to the Autism N I Campaign.

However there is still much to be done, Lord Maginnis has worked tirelessly promoting the issues surrounding Autism. On 30th June 2006 a campaign was launched at Stormont called a Blue Print for Change, a follow up to the Government and Autism paper presented in March of this year.

This latest document came about after consultation with many families affected, indeed the figures for N I of the number of children diagnosed is some 3 ½ thousand.

The Blueprint for Change document is the latest product of the accelerating Northern Ireland political lobby to progress social justice and equality for individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and importantly to bring to everyone’s attention the under-resourcing faced by this section of our community. There is no formal mechanism in Northern Ireland to deal with this condition, but other areas in the UK and Europe do have strategies and legislation. In some areas here the waiting time for diagnosis has topped 35 months.

As part of raising their profile, Autism N I will be contacting all councils in the hope that a presentation may be given to local councillors. I am drawing your attention to this charity and would ask that when they send in their request to your Council, please give them a favourable hearing and whatever help you may be able to do. Their plight needs to be highlighted and what better way than through their local representatives.