As a coalition of organisations that support vulnerable children and young people, many with autism and a learning disability, we would add our support to the Our Voice Our Rights campaign.
This aims to make Scotland the best country in the world for the 56,000 autistic people, the 120,000 people with a learning disability, and their families.
While there have been many ambitious and well-intentioned strategies over the years from Government and partners, and an extensive regulatory framework, we hear all the time that too many people are struggling to access their human rights to education, work, a family life, healthcare, to high quality social care services, and to be free from discrimination in their communities.
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, leading 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.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Kenny Graham, Falkland House School
Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning
Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius
Niall Kelly, Young Foundations