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Autism Campaign Push for Change at Labour Party Conference

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK has called on the Prime Minister Tony Blair, to act on autism in the wake of the remarks made by Professor Sir Al Aynsley Green.

The UK based campaign is pushing for real change - for all people with autism and are lobbying Ministers and MPs at this year's Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Ivan Corea urged Labour politicians at the party conference in Manchester to provide all people with autism with better public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care. The Government's disability strategy - Every Disabled Child Matters will be unveiled in Manchester at the conference. Government policy is systematically failing disabled children and their families, according to four campaigning organisations - Contact a Family, the Council for Disabled Children, Mencap, and the Special Educational Consortium who have joined forces for the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign.

The Children's Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Sir Al Aynsley Green described the current provision for autistic children as 'shocking and appalling' in an interview with BBC News. The Children's Commissioner has been meeting with the National Autistic Society in London. He said: "It's appalling and it's shameful for our country, the fifth richest economy in the world, to have so many children that are not being looked after and given the resources they need to develop to their full potential. It is shocking and appalling."

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are appealing to the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Education Secretary Alan Johnson at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, to kick start a program of providing public services for the 90,000 children with autism in the UK by building and staffing specialist autism schools across the country. Life is still a struggle for families with autism and parents have to do battle to get the right education provision for their children.There are 535,000 people with autism in the UK. It is estimated that there are 15,000 people with autism from minority ethnic communities in London alone. Many suffer without adequate public services.

Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK urged Prime Minister Tony Blair to embark on a 10 year building program of specialist autism schools given that numbers will rise during this time. He urged training for staff in primary and secondary schools; for a new qualification for young people with autism who leave school; access to further education and higher education; and a compact with employers to provide labour market opportunities for people with autism. 'Now is the time for action on autism,' he said. A suggestion has been made to the Chancellor Gordon Brown to introduce an autism allowance to help ease the financial burden for parents, carers and people with autism. Some parents have had to re-mortgage their houses in order to pay for therapies for their children.

Earlier this year Ivan Corea met with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London and presented him with an autism awareness ribbon. He urged the Prime Minister to do more for all people with autism. Tony Blair was the first British Prime Minister ever to talk about autism in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Question Time in 2002 Autism Awareness Year.

1 in every 150 babies born has Autism ( and in some reports it is even greater then that)

Families with one autistic child have a 2 to 8 percent chance of having another autistic child.

Boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism.

Mental retardation is present in 75-80% of individuals with autism.

Autism occurs more often than childhood cancer or cystic fibrosis.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability. In the U.S. alone, autism increased by 172% during the 1990s.

When autism is detected and treated early, costs associated with the disorder can be reduced by 66%.

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