Thursday, October 13, 2011

Keeping busy at the Conservative Party Conference

Last week, the NAS rounded off the conference season at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

On Sunday night, we hosted an exciting education fringe event alongside Ambitious About Autism The event was chaired by Cllr Colin Barrow CBE who talked about his experience of finding educational support for his own child, who has autism. Colin has just stood down as chair of trustees for the NAS and we are very pleased that he is continuing to be involved in the charity's work

Parent Debbie Waters also spoke at the event and highlighted her difficulties in finding the right support for her children. She said in choosing a school she had felt forced to choose between a happy child and an educated child, which she said, was "not a real choice to make".

Also at the event Karen Lumley MP stressed the importance of making funding fairer for children with special educational needs (SEN), while Leader of Solihull council Cllr Ken Meeson agreed that funding was a key issue. He also highlighted the need for earlier intervention for children with SEN. We also heard from other parents, people with autism, councillors, and Neil Parish MP.

Tuesday night was our Researchers’ Refuge event, which gave MPs’ researchers and caseworkers a chance to drop in for beer and snacks and have an informal chat about autism. We had fantastic discussions with them about how they can better support constituents who have autism and their families.

During the week we also went along to the Learning Disability Coalition’s table tennis event. Politicians including David Burrowes MP played table tennis with people with learning disabilities. It was a really useful event to get politicians talking to people with learning disabilities and autism.

All in all, the week was a great opportunity to influence the current Government into making the best choices for people with autism.

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