Preet Kaur Gill, the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston, has called on the government to do more for those with autism, especially children, where early diagnosis and intervention can greatly improve the chance of treatment success.
Speaking during PMQs today, and during World Autistic Awareness Week, Preet urged the Prime Minister to act to bring in mandatory training on autism for all healthcare professionals.
Preet raised the issue on behalf on her constituent, Georgia Stokes, whose two children live with autism and who have both been unable to get the support they need because of the failure of some health professionals to correctly diagnose them.
One clinical paediatrician told Ms Stokes that her son couldn’t be autistic because he ‘makes eye contact and smiles’. Both of Ms Stokes’ sons are currently out of school because attendance has been damaging to their mental health.
In her question to the Prime Minister, Preet said:
“My constituent, Georgia Stokes, has two children with autism who have been unable to get the support they need and are therefore not at school because of incorrect diagnoses.
Every child with autism is unique, and this is why awareness raising and education about autism is vital.
34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.
This World Autism Awareness Week will the prime minister commit to speeding up the time between referral for autism and diagnosis – And will she promise to fund mandatory training for healthcare professionals so that parents like Georgia aren’t left to fend for themselves?”