Backbench Business - Services for People with Autismbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:43 pm on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee 1:43 pm, 21st March 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Scott Mann. I congratulate Huw Merriman on opening today’s debate, and I join him in paying tribute to the fantastic work of Dame Cheryl Gillan. I join others in sending our very best wishes to her and her family today.

I want to focus on children with autism. We know that, from the outset, families face an uphill struggle to obtain the help and support that they deserve, and I pay tribute to the work of a relatively new organisation in Liverpool called Autism in Motion, which seeks to provide a voice for parents. It was set up by three Liverpool mums of children on the autistic spectrum. National guidelines state that people should start their diagnostic assessment within three months of being referred to the autism team, but statistics obtained last year by Norman Lamb revealed a postcode lottery in waiting times for an initial appointment, with many parts of the country falling woefully short of the three-month target. In some parts of the country, it can take years to receive a diagnosis of autism.