MP lends his support to Autism Bill

Geoffrey Cox is sponsoring a Bill before parliament to improve the services available to autistic children and adults.


Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, is sponsoring a Bill before parliament to improve the services available to autistic children and adults. He is one of ten MPs to sponsor the Bill before the House of Commons, and last week urged the Government to accept the proposed legislation, which would require local authorities and Health Trusts for the first time to maintain and gather data on the numbers of those with autistic spectrum disorders in their areas and impose new duties to provide effective support from child and adult services, appropriate staff training, and the promotion of appropriate packages of support to enable independent living for people with the disability.

In a parliamentary debate on existing provision, the MP further pointed out that many parents and families were in desperate need of independent advocacy and help in securing a thorough assessment and diagnosis for their child when ASD was suspected, and that independent advice and representation should be available at all stages of the complex system for obtaining official recognition of the condition in a statement of special needs, and beyond into adulthood.

Geoffrey Cox said: "Many parents in Torridge and West Devon have recounted their experiences of the system to me; the need for specialist expertise in Devon in ASD, and of an impartial and independent advocate for families are constant themes. There is a lack of training and support for teachers in Devon's schools that would enable them to create the appropriate environment for children with ASD, and there is precious little help for those children when they reach 16."

He continued: "A great deal of worthy discussion and policy writing is going on but it is vital that we begin to see the real implementation of all these good intentions in the everyday experience of families, carers, and those with ASD."

National Autistic Society Chief Executive, Mark Lever, said; "We are delighted to have the support of Geoffrey Cox MP and strongly urge other MPs to follow this lead; the right support at the right time could transform thousands of lives. It is simply unacceptable that individuals and families continue to struggle to get the help they so desperately need from health and social care agencies."


Photo: Geoffrey Cox sponsors a Bill to improve the services available to autistic children and adults.


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