Arbroath father’s autism crusade
An Arbroath man’s plea for a national card to protect vulnerable autism sufferers is to be taken to the Scottish Parliament. Mark Davies’ son Eli, 11, has the condition.
A dad’s plea for a national card to protect vulnerable autism sufferers is to be taken to the corridors of power.
Mark Davies, whose 11-year-old son Eli has autism, raised the issue with Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey, who is now taking the matter to the Scottish Parliament.
The campaign received a further shot in the arm after it received the backing of Scottish Autism.
The card would help authorities and emergency services to better understand people with autistic behaviour.
A similar card has been introduced by the police in the Australian town of Albany.
Mr Davies, from Arbroath, said: “Many people with autism have significant issues with social interaction, and they may react in an unexpected way, which can appear to be aggressive especially if they are touched or grabbed, as this can be extremely distressing to them.
“This means that an otherwise ordinary contact with a police officer for example, could escalate very quickly, and see the person forcibly restrained,
“Many people with autism have significant issues with social interaction and they may react in an unexpected way, which can appear tobe aggressive. MARK DAVIES
which makes the situation much worse.”
He added: “Although ‘unofficial’ cards are currently available, I believe that a government approved card, issued by a GP or other healthcare provider, which also carries emergency contact details, could be incredibly useful – not just for people with autism, but for those who interact with them in an official capacity.”
Mr Dey, who is deputy convener of the cross-party group (CPG) on autism in the Scottish Parliament said: “This strikes me as a very worthwhile proposal, deserving of detailed consideration.
“I’m sure it is something members of the CPG might want to consider the merits of, but I will also be writing to the Scottish Government to bring it to their attention.”
Charlene Tait, director of autism practice and research at Scottish Autism, said: “While we have been involved in some pilot projects to introduce autism aware cards in different regions of Scotland, we do feel there would be merit in developing a standard, nationwide card.
“Autism awareness training for those in some public-facing roles would also be beneficial to ensure autistic people get the right kind of support when it is required.
“Provided such an initiative was properly planned with the input of professional practitioners and the autistic community, it could be another helpful step forward in increasing the public of understanding of autism.”
Mark Davies and his son Eli.