Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School, member of the SCSC, writes in the Edinburgh Evening News on World Autism Awareness Week:
This week marks World Autism Awareness Week, where campaigners will seek to raise further awareness of the condition and improve the lives of those affected by it.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is also much more common than most people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism – that’s more than one in 100. People from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds can be autistic, although it appears to affect more men than women.
The prevalence is currently rising in many countries around the world as we witness a dramatic increase in numbers of children with autism, particularly in the early years. This rise can be explained, in part, by improved public recognition of autism, improved clinical understanding and developments in diagnosis.
Awareness raising, such as through World Autism Awareness Week and the associated events that it generates, are to be welcomed as more and more people gain a better understanding of the condition and how we can support young people with autism.
However, there is much work still to be done. We are concerned, like many, at the level of cutbacks in services supporting those with autism, and while as an organisation we support a presumption to mainstream – that those with additional support needs such as autism be taught in mainstream classes – we have raised our worries over the amount of training and resources dedicated to this.
Teaching in as mainstream class may also not be right for every child, the alternative being to teach such pupils in specialist units within mainstream schools or in dedicated specialist schools such as our own. Ultimately the focus must be on the needs of the child or young person concerned.
So, whether it’s a walk or cycle, a cake sale, a quiz or other challenge, use this week to make it a better world for autistic people.
- Letter to the Editor – More needs to be done to support school leavers with ASN into ‘positive destinations’ ( June 22, 2017 )
- ‘Postcode lottery’ as health boards fail to meet target for child mental health treatment ( June 6, 2017 )
- Letter to the Editor – Care experienced people, make your voice heard ( June 1, 2017 )
- Sophie Pilgrim – Scotland’s new Mental Health Strategy, is there Hope? ( May 19, 2017 )
- Response to the Education and Skills Committee report showing need for urgent action to support pupils with additional support needs ( May 15, 2017 )
- Letter to the media – Mental health awareness goes beyond addressing illness ( May 8, 2017 )
- Coalition calls for action as 11% cut in additional support for learning revealed ( April 26, 2017 )
- Scottish Children’s Services Coalition launches its manifesto ahead of the council elections, warning of a ‘lost generation’ ( April 24, 2017 )
- Letter to the media – Ten-year mental health strategy welcome but it simply does not go far enough ( April 10, 2017 )
- Ray Brown, Spark of Genius – The importance of understanding how young people end up in care ( March 22, 2017 )
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015