Letter to media from the Scottish Children's Services Coalition, supporting calls for an autism commissioner in Scotland:
As a group of organisations that support vulnerable children and young people, many with autism and a learning disability, we would add our support to concerns relating to a delay in a Scottish Government commitment to establish a commissioner to promote and protect the rights of autistic people.
Currently too many of those with autism and learning disabilities are struggling to get the support needed, with their human rights breached, and a commissioner is vital to help them fight their corner.
However, with a delay in public consultation on this until late 2023, there is a real concern that the delivery of a commissioner is simply not being prioritised.
While not by any means a panacea, a commissioner for autism and learning disability would be the first of its kind in the world, established in law to champion the human rights of autistic people and people with a learning disability.
It would be a powerful voice, improving access to services and advocating on people’s behalf when they cannot. A commissioner would also close the current gap between what the law says and what actually happens, delivering improvements. Importantly people would also have recourse when the system falls short and fails to deliver for them.
Many of those with autism and learning disabilities feel invisible, and such a role can help people live good lives with choice and control, free from discrimination. We would urge the Scottish Government to develop a sense of urgency on this vital matter.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Kenny Graham, Falkland House School
Lynn Black, LOVE Learning
Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius
Niall Kelly, Young Foundations