Downpatrick area Councillor and the SDLP’s local spokesperson on Health, Colin McGrath has welcomed the Autism Bill which has been passed at the Assembly.
Clouncillor McGrath said, “I wish to fully welcome the Autism Bill that was sponsored by my party colleague Dominic Bradley.
“This bill will fill a gap within our current understanding of disabilities by providing clarity for autism within the forthcoming work by OFMDFM regarding compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability. At last, autism must be understood and addressed as a full intellectual range disability.
“The associated Autism awareness campaign will increase public knowledge, understanding and tolerance of this invisible disability.
“I fully welcome the requirements that are due to be put on a number of Government Departments to collate and share information, as this will undoubtedly improve the potential to accurately project future demand for services and will hopefully reduce duplication.
“This bill will clarify the definition of disability which is currently being used by Decision Makers who determine social security benefit applications such as Disability Living Allowance.
“The passing of this bill will now shift the burden onto government. It is time for government to plan holistically for the future needs of those with Autism.”