Autism Act is needed to up­date law

North Wales Weekly News - - POLLITICS / OPINIONS - BY MARK ISH­ER­WOOD North Wales AM

IWAS proud to spon­sor and speak at the launch of Rem­ploy Cymru at the Assem­bly ear­lier this month.

Rem­ploy is the UK’s lead­ing provider of dis­abil­ity em­ploy­ment ser­vices, with more than 40 branches, of­fices and out­reach lo­ca­tions across Wales.

It has sup­ported more than 12,000 dis­abled and dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in Wales over the past five years.

Hav­ing a ded­i­cated business op­er­a­tion in Wales will help Rem­ploy Cymru achieve its am­bi­tion to help even more dis­abled and dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in Wales to gain em­ploy­ment.

Rem­ploy’s Wrex­ham Of­fice de­liv­ered 450 dis­abled peo­ple into work in North Wales be­tween 2012-2014, in­clud­ing all but two of the for­mer Wrex­ham Rem­ploy fac­tory staff who asked for help.

Rem­ploy rightly be­lieves that em­ploy­ment is the most ef­fec­tive route out of poverty and to­wards so­cial in­clu­sion for many dis- abled peo­ple in Wales.

Rem­ploy is one of the strate­gic part­ners of the UK Gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship Dis­abil­ity Con­fi­dent cam­paign, launched by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron in July 2013, which en­cour­ages em­ploy­ers to em­ploy more dis­abled peo­ple and to be more con­fi­dent about dis­abil­ity in the work­place.

Peo­ple are dis­abled by so­ci­ety not them­selves.

We must work to­gether to tackle the bar­ri­ers to ac­cess and in­clu­sion for all and ev­ery­one must be al­lowed in­de­pen­dence, choice and con­trol in their lives.

Peo­ple with Autism in Wales also still face sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges and bar­ri­ers, which is why last week in the Assem­bly I led a de­bate call­ing upon the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce an Autism Act for Wales.

Assem­bly Mem­bers voted in support.

It is recog­nised that this can­not be ac­com­mo­dated within this Assem­bly’s re­main­ing leg­isla­tive timetable to 2016, there­fore I urged all par­ties to com­mit to an Autism Act for Wales within their 2016 Man­i­festos and to cham­pion a “re­freshed” Autism Strat­egy with teeth in the mean­time.

An Autism Act needs to in­clude: di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices; post di­ag­nos­tic support; aware­ness and train­ing for pro­fes­sion­als and de­sign and de­liv­ery – get­ting the fun­da­men­tals in place first.

Peo­ple on the autism spec­trum and their fam­i­lies are not con­vinced that things have changed sig­nif­i­cantly since the Autism Strat­egy was launched.

An Autism Act is there­fore needed to bring about the changes needed and to put them on a statu­tory ba­sis.

We can’t ask chil­dren or adults to stop be­ing autis­tic un­til ser­vices are in place for them.

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