Thursday, April 02, 2009
Don't forget autism
Today is World Autism Awareness Day.
Of course there are lots of other things happening in the UK. The G20 Summit and the accompanying protests in Central London are considered far more newsworthy, so there is perhaps only a slim chance of seeing a representative of The National Autistic Society on TV or radio today.
But the world financial situation will impact on autism. There are already far too few services for people on the autistic spectrum, particularly adults and those of all ages at the more able end of the spectrum. The hugely increasing national debt resulting from bailing out the banks will inevitably lead to a further squeezing of funding for public services and some existing schemes are likely to suffer or be lost altogether. Many services are run by charities who are also suffering in the current economic climate.
The current rate of diagnosis is around one child in a hundred, but as no comprehensive records have been kept nobody actually seems to know how many people in this country have autism. It's a demographic time bomb of vulnerable people needing help and support and it is difficult to see where the money for that help is going to come from.
Don't forget people with autism today.