Stephen has attended the National Autistic Society’s first ever Understanding Autism session. Stephen was one of 82 MPs who attended one of three sessions on 1 May, receiving more information on what autism is, guidance on how to create autism-friendly surgeries and tips on how to support autistic constituents.
The sessions were run by four National Autistic Society staff, two of whom are autistic. The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), the Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP, who hosted the session, noted how crucial it is for parliamentarians to be more sensitive and aware of the challenges autistic people can face. Lots of the MPs who were there agreed that with kindness, patience and sensitivity they could make a big change to the way they support their autistic constituents.
There are around 700,000 autistic children and adults in the UK, a significant proportion of every MP’s constituency. The National Autistic Society believes that increasing MPs’ awareness and understanding of autism is an important step to improving their ability to support and champion the issues that matter to autistic people in their constituencies and in Parliament too. The charity was delighted that so many MPs attended and will be working with them to ensure support improves for autistic people at both local and national levels.
Speaking afterwards, Stephen said: “I was delighted to attend the Understanding Autism session and grateful to the National Autistic Society for organising it.
“I hope the government will continue to do more to promote awareness and improve understanding of autism. I am committed to making our country autism-friendly and ensure that autistic people can access the services and support they need.”