Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has given her support to the National Autistic Society for Scotland’s report ‘Count us in: it pays to listen’ in a debate in Parliament. The report calls for people with autism to have more of a say in the decisions that affect them and the type of support they need to achieve their full potential.
“The Scottish Government’s £13.4m investment in a National Autism Strategy has helped to support individuals and families affected by autism. It seeks to bring together local authorities and associated charities to provide tangible changes to improve the lives of those with autism.
“Here in East Kilbride our schools generally, along with Sanderson High and the Communications Unit at Duncanrig Secondary, do fantastic work to support young people with autism with many going on to further and higher education. However, the ‘Count us in’ Report asks us to consider what happens to people with autism when they leave educational institutions; when the assessments stop and the appropriate support not always easy to access.
“The Report suggests that adults do not always access support and advocacy services due to their autism and can often get left behind. Many adults have expressed difficulty in accessing employment opportunities; often employers do not have an understanding of autism and the appropriate adjustments that can be made to accommodate individuals.
“Autism is on a spectrum which means there is a wide range of people with different support needs. Some people will require high levels of support their whole lives and may not be able to live without continued support. However, there are others who can live independent lives on their own, holding down a job to support themselves having less dependent relationships with their families.
“Social structures are important too. For example, parents of former students of Sanderson High School in East Kilbride are setting up their own club so that their now grown-up children, of varying needs, can continue their friendships and socialise in a comfortable and familiar setting.
“We must make sure that we give people with autism the support particular to their needs, and of course we should always listen.
“The Scottish Government are currently considering the National Autistic Society report and are committed to continuing to work with individuals, families, local authorities and the third sector, and of course those with autism themselves.”
Motion for Debate
Motion S4M-05568: Mark McDonald, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/02/2013
Count Us In
That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the report, Count us in: it pays to listen, by the National Autistic Society Scotland as part of its Count us in campaign to give people with autism more of a say in decisions that directly affect them; understands that there are approximately 50,000 people with autism in Scotland, with an estimated 6,000 of these living in the north east of Scotland, and autism directly affects around 200,000 people every day; further understands that only 15% of adults with autism are in full-time employment and 39% of those interviewed for the Count us in report said that they had lost a job as a result of their autism; welcomes the Scottish Government’s investment of £13.4 million over four years to implement the first autism strategy to improve support services for adults and children with autism and their families; further welcomes the input of the Count us in campaign, and looks forward to working with a range of organisations to continue to maximise the opportunities created by the strategy and by involving people with autism more closely in the decision-making process.
Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Linda Fabiani, Bill Kidd, Aileen McLeod, Maureen Watt, Christina McKelvie, Joan McAlpine, Rob Gibson, David Stewart, Graeme Dey, Dennis Robertson, Annabelle Ewing, Jamie Hepburn, Chic Brodie, Bob Doris, Mike MacKenzie, Adam Ingram, Kevin Stewart, George Adam, John Mason, John Finnie, Jean Urquhart, David Torrance, Alison McInnes, Nigel Don, Colin Keir, Stuart McMillan, Margaret McDougall, Colin Beattie, Gil Paterson, Bruce Crawford, Marco Biagi, Angus MacDonald, Dave Thompson, Elaine Smith, James Dornan, Drew Smith, Clare Adamson