SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has called on the public to support ‘Autism Awareness Week’ this week, which aims to raise awareness and increase public understanding of autism.
The MLA for Foyle commented: “Autism Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity not only to raise awareness but to challenge our perceived notions of what it means to be autistic.
“Slowly but surely public campaigns are increasing awareness which is reflected in the exponential rise in autism diagnoses. However, there is quite some way to go in regard to providing faster turn-around times for ASD diagnosis and improved support models pre and post diagnosis.
“In order to do that we need to involve the experts; by introducing the narrative of autistic individuals and their families we can create services which best support their needs from childhood right through to adulthood.
“When you meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism- needs and complexities vary on an individual basis and this must be reflected in the types of support services we provide.”
He continued: “I would urge the public to show their support this week, to educate themselves on what it means to be autistic- the daily challenges people living with autism face and how that impacts on their ability to do things most people take for granted.
“By doing so, together we can build a more understanding and inclusive society that works for everyone.”