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Liberal Democrats

F22: Autism Support

Young Liberals

Mover: Katharine Macey.

Summation: Janey Little.

Motion as passed by conference


Conference notes that:

  1. Autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people in the UK.
  2. The National Autistic Society found that 80% of autistic people wish they had more information about laws around autistic individuals.
  3. Currently every autistic person has the right to a needs assessment under the Autism Act 2009, completed by an assessor with the skills, competency and knowledge of autism sufficient to undertake that assessment - however this is not always accessible for individuals.
  4. Only 8% of autistic people and 5% of family members felt that health and care services had improved since the Autism Act.
  5. Only 16% of diagnosed autistic individuals are in full time employment and 32% in part time employment, but many adults remain undiagnosed due to unnecessary hurdles in the assessment system.
  6. 77% of unemployed diagnosed autistic individuals want to work.
  7. Misdiagnosis of autistic individuals is far too common - especially in ethnic minorities, women, girls and non-binary individuals.
  8. Due to social misunderstandings, autistic individuals can unknowingly end up on the wrong side of the law - 4.5% of young offenders in Feltham have a diagnosis.
  9. Autistic people are up to seven times more likely than the general population to be involved in the criminal justice system.
  10. Autistic people and their families may be eligible for a Blue Badge to access disabled parking spaces.
  11. Autistic individuals are included in many invisible disability campaigns including the London 'Please offer me a seat' campaign.

Conference believes that:

  1. Every individual should be able to achieve their potential - neurodivergent or neurotypical.
  2. Autistic and other neurodivergent individuals not only are equal workers but can provide unique perspectives and be a substantial addition to the workplace.
  3. A diagnosis should not be a label, it is a tool there to support individuals in getting the help needed.

Conference resolves that:

  1. Guidance on employment must be updated to ensure the Equality Act 2010 is fulfilled and employers can support autistic individuals in their employment.
  2. Education about neurodivergence should be included on the curriculum in the same way mental health is currently.
  3. Diagnosis must be made more accessible, by stopping gatekeeping and reducing steps required for diagnosis to be official in NHS terms.
  4. Wait lists for diagnosis must be reduced by increasing funding and space for diagnosis.
  5. Autistic women, girls, non-binary individuals and ethnic minorities must have equal access to support and diagnosis.
  6. There should be increased training for teachers to acknowledge neurodiverse individuals, to both recognise behaviour and support different styles of learning.
  7. There should be further improvements to the Autism Act 2009, to create obligations on employers and local authorities to support autistic people with their care assessments.
  8. Autistic offenders should be met with support and not punishment when the crime is non-violent.
  9. Sensory spaces should be provided for autistic individuals engaging with the justice system - whether as complainants or defendants or witnesses or staff.
  10. Autism must not be represented as decreasing quality of life.

Applicability: England only; except 1. (lines 37-39), which is Federal; and 8. and 9. (lines 55-59), which are England and Wales.

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