Amanda Milling MP’s team, who together run her constituency office, have attended the National Autistic Society’s latest Understanding Autism session. They learned more about autism, how to create autism-friendly surgeries and received information on how to better support autistic constituents.
There are around 700,000 autistic children and adults in the UK and a further three million family members and carers too. This means that around 1 in 100 people in each MP’s constituency are autistic. The National Autistic Society believes that increasing MPs’ awareness and understanding of autism is a really important step in improving their ability to support and champion the issues that matter to autistic people in their constituencies.
The session was run by two National Autistic Society staff, one of whom is autistic. They noted how crucial it is for parliamentarians and their staff to be more aware of the challenges autistic people can face. Amanda Milling and her team agreed that with understanding, patience and sensitivity they could make a big change to the way they support and represent their autistic constituents.
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects how people communicate and interact with the world. It is a spectrum condition. This means autistic people have their own strengths and varying and complex needs, from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things at work and school. Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can miss out on an education, struggle to find work and become extremely isolated.
Amanda Milling MP for Cannock Chase said: “I’m delighted that my team could attend the Understanding Autism session, and am grateful to the National Autistic Society for organising it. It was incredibly beneficial, and I am keen to ensure my office as welcoming as possible for everybody”.
“I am committed to representing everyone in the area and this of course includes autistic people and their families. I hope that this session will help us to better support and work alongside autistic people and families in Cannock Chase”.
Anna Bailey-Bearfield, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the National Autistic Society, said: "We were really pleased that Amanda’s team have taken part in one of our Understanding Autism sessions.
"Autistic people and families make up a significant part of every MP’s constituency. So it’s absolutely vital that MPs and their offices have a good understanding of what it can be like to be autistic and how they can better support autistic constituents.
“We’re hoping to work with many more MPs and their offices over the coming months, so we can continue improving understanding – and make sure this leads to better support and representation for autistic people and their families.”