Actor and campaigner Richard Wilson OBE is backing the National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotlandas it publishes its Count us in: it pays to listen report. The star of BBC’s Merlin and One Foot in the Grave delivered the report to Mark MacDonald MSP at Holyrood, accompanied by people with autism and their families. Richard Wilson became the leading autism charity’s Ambassador in summer 2012.
Count us in: it pays to listen is a call to action for the Scottish Government to progress further its strong commitment to people with autism and their families by giving them a say in the decisions that affect them. An estimated 50,000 Scots have autism.
NAS Scotland sought advice from people with autism by conducting a national survey and holding a series of workshops. The responses it received form the basis of Count us in: it pays to listen. They reveal:
- 91% want more say over their support
- 79% think that public understanding of autism is poor or very poor
- 69% of adults with autism haven’t had an assessment of their needs since turning 18
- 66% feel they do not have enough support.
Dr Robert Moffat, national director of NAS Scotland said, “We greatly welcome the Scottish Government’s Autism Strategy forScotland. It is addressing the enormous challenges currently faced by the 1 in 100 Scots who have autism. The Government is also targeting £13.4million to better support people with autism. This is a significant sum of public money and everyone involved wants to make the most of the opportunities it presents.
“We are encouraging Government, local authorities and a range of organisations to listen to people with autism and work with them in order to maximise the effectiveness of the Autism Strategy forScotland. We believe such a partnership is essential to improve quality of life for people with autism and their families.”
Richard Wilson, NAS Scotland Ambassador commented, “In my role as NAS Scotland’s Ambassador, it is my great pleasure to meet many of people with autism and their families who support this campaigning charity.
“People with autism may see the world differently from many of us, but they have strong, valuable opinions on the kind of support needed to access the same opportunities most of us take for granted.
“There is palpable frustration that those organisations meant to help are not listening to what they have to say.
“The right support at the right time can make the difference between someone experiencing isolation and related mental health problems or leading a fulfilling life and actively contributing to society.
“That’s why I am backing NAS Scotland in its vital work to help make the opinions of people with autism heard. I encourage more people inScotlandto do the same, so that those with the condition can participate in society and experience real quality of life.”
Mark McDonald MSP said, “I have long been a supporter of the work of NAS Scotland, and I look forward to reading the Count us in: it pays to listen report.
“I believe it’s vital that those working most closely with individuals with autism have the opportunity to feed their views to MSPs and the Scottish Government and I am keen to read the report and to share its findings with colleagues in Parliament and the Scottish Government.
“I am committed to doing what I can to work with NAS Scotland on issues affecting people with autism and ensuring that people with autism are receiving the support they need.”
You can read more about this from the National Autistic Society website by clicking here.