Why only local autism support?

Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
community published
Article published on Jan. 21, 2009
Cheryl Gillian MP UK MP Cheryl Gillian has successfully passed a ballot to introduce an autism related to private members bills into Parliament. This means her bill will have additional debate time.

This is very good news as the bill asks for some key information to be collated. Information that it seems quite incredible that the UK doesn't already posses. In short, the bill will make local councils:

...have to gather data on the number of autistic children and adults to better plan services

For those of us in the autism community, this is not news. That is, the idea that for something that affects 1% of the UK population we have no real idea of how those numbers break down, how many autistic people are kids, how many are adults, how many are females, how many are males, if there's any regional differences etc. For those not in the community the idea that we still don't - over 60 years following the first formal recognition of autism - have any clear idea on the most basic epidemiology might be eyebrow raising. After all, if we don't know these basics, how can we tell if autism really is increasing? How can we plan effective services to meet real needs? In the UK it is estimated that there are 50% more autistic kids then autism specialist school placements. But we don't know for sure.

And we should also be aware that autism is not just a local or even national issue. It is a truly international issue. There are autism centres all Europe, the US, India, Australia, Africa, Eastern Asia and the Middle East. There needs to be a recognition - at European level particularly - that autism is not going away, that the search for a cure is at best misguided and at worst actively taking attention and research and placing that cart way before the horse.

How to do that? Thats the question.