Backbench Business - Services for People with Autismbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 2:40 pm, 21st March 2019

The hon. Gentleman is right to put that on the record. I am married to a primary school teacher and, although aspects of her teacher training dealt with autism, she would probably feel that she has not been given enough support. More often than not, she will be able to say, anecdotally, “This child in the class might have autism but has not had a diagnosis yet.” So he is right to put that on the record.

More often than not, a lot of housing associations do not have a proper understanding of autism. A lot of families come to me and say, “I need a house with a garden so that my child can play safely”. This chicken-and-egg situation, which I see regularly, can be quite frustrating.

I am conscious of the time—there is a heavily subscribed debate after this one—so I will round off by saying that it is of fundamental importance that autistic people and their families are understood and welcomed in their own communities and can be supported to be as independent and active as they wish to be. I thank all hon. Members who have participated in this debate. I hope that, when we debate it next year, we will be able to celebrate some progress because, if we have learned one thing today, it is that we still have a lot further to go.