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Charities call for commissioner to support rights of learning disabled

This news post is over 1 year old

Lack of opportunity as well as discrimination has become normal

Three charities have united to call for a commissioner to support people with autism and learning disabilities.

Enable Scotland, National Autistic Society Scotland and Scottish Autism say service users are struggling to access their rights to education, work, a family life, healthcare and high-quality social care services.

They want a dedicated commissioner to represent the rights of the people they support and make sure they have access to the opportunities to which they are entitled.

Discrimination is a reality for the 56,000 autistic people and 120,000 people with a learning disability in Scotland, the charities say, and believe that appointing a commissioner - the first of its kind in the world - would reassure those with learning difficulties and autism that they mattered.

It would also be powerful voice advocating on their behalf with public bodies who have a duty provide equal access to services and support.

The move is being backed by broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove whose son Jack has autism. He said it was both symbolic and practical ask.

"Symbolically in the sense that it raises autism further up the knowledge chain so that we become more aware of it and more able to adapt to it.

"But it is important in the sense that it can enact changes in law, changes in how local councils behave or allocate spend."

Jason, from Glasgow, who has autism

According to Enable Scotland, fewer than 7% of people with learning disabilities have a job and that figure has not changed or improved for a decade. They also have worse outcomes in health and education.

The Scottish government said: "We will continue to consult with autistic people, people with a learning disability, and other stakeholders to explore further the potential role of a commission or commissioner, to understand more about the options, and how best to protect the rights of autistic people and people with a learning disability."



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