Today England will pass a the first ever disability-specific bill, The Autism Act. The bill will require health organizations to provide support for people with autism, which affects over half a million people in the U.K.
The U.K.’s National Autistic Society (NAS) heralded the new law. The Act “will add serious weight to the forthcoming adult autism strategy so now we’ll be keeping the pressure up on Government to make sure they get it right and deliver lasting change for people with this serious, lifelong and disabling condition,” says Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS.
Under the Autism Act, the Government’s forthcoming adult autism strategy will be legally enforceable and must be published within the next six months. New responsibilities the NHS and local authorities will be expected to fulfil will include providing diagnostic services for adults with autism and better training for health and social care staff.
The NAS is also calling for the adult autism strategy to tackle the woeful number of people with autism in employment. New research for the charity’s Don’t Write Me Off campaign found that a third of people with autism in the U.K currently live without a job and worryingly without benefits.