ANDY BURNHAM reveals his plans on changing Greater Manchester for people who suffer from autism.
The Greater Manchester Mayor tweeted his plan to make Greater Manchester the UK’s first autism-friendly city region.
I want GM to be the UK’s 1st autism-friendly city-region. Today I’m asking the experts – people with autism & their parents – how we do it.
— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) December 7, 2017
The National Autistic Society (NAS) held an event yesterday 7th of December to bring together a whole coalition of charities, statutory services, autistic people and their families to identify existing autism-friendly practices and to start building a vision for the future.
Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns at The National Autistic Society, said: “The National Autistic Society strongly welcomes the commitment that Andy Burnham has given to make Greater Manchester autism-friendly.
“We have been running the Greater Manchester Autism Consortium for over 20 years, providing training for professionals, workshops for parents and good practice sharing for services.
“We are pleased to be working with the Mayor in consultation with autistic people and their families to support the development of the UK’s first autism friendly region.”
— NAS Campaigns (@NAScampaigns) December 7, 2017
According to Purser, awareness of autism is at an all-time high, with over 99% of the public saying they have heard of autism. However, only 16% of parents and carers of autistic people told NAS that the society understands how autism affects the way they may behave in public.
The charity’s research showed that this lack of understanding causes autistic people and families to often face judgmental stares and disapproving noises when they are in public.
This means that, over time, they avoid going to places they might feel overwhelmed or judged, and become more and more isolated.
By the time autistic people reach adulthood their world can look very small, with over 70% of autistic people and their families saying they feel socially isolated.
Les Neal, Operations Manager at the Autistic Society Greater Manchester Area (ASGMA), said: “It’s fantastic that Greater Manchester are taking imaginative leaps into the world of Autism and seeing things from their point of view.
“By taking a truly collaborative and joined up approach ASGMA welcomes Andy Burnham’s drive, leadership and determination to see the Greater Manchester area as the first Autism friendly region.”