Why We Need an Autism Act for Wales
From Planet 225

by Georgia Burdett

In October, the Welsh Government voted against the introduction of an Autism Bill for Wales. Advocates for people living with autism in Wales were left aghast by the implications of this narrow defeat (27 votes to 24), and also shocked at a total rejection of a move towards a more progressive disability policy by Welsh Labour AMs (who either voted against or didn’t vote) and its rejection by the Lib Dem Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams. Welsh Conservative AMs, who had (somewhat surprisingly) introduced the motion, overwhelmingly voted in support of the Act, and in doing so garnered some new respect from the autism community. Within hours an appeal petition had been launched calling on the Welsh Government to introduce an Autism (Wales) Bill during the 5th Assembly. Supporters argued that the 34,000 people who were currently known to be living with autism in Wales, and the further 130,000 people who supported them were entitled to statutory identity. As things stand, the support that people with autism receive in Wales is very much a postcode lottery. There is a guise of ‘good practice’, but no obligation for local authorities to meet the various complex needs that accompany autism.

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