Last Thursday I was invited to have a tour of the Pears National Centre for Autism Education and take part in a question and answer session with the school’s students and young people on the EU referendum and why young people should vote.
I found my visit interesting and enjoyable. On my tour I was given the opportunity to see first-hand the great work that the charity Ambitious About Autism undertakes at its school. I met a number of bright and engaging students who demonstrated that with the right support and learning environment children with autism can excel in education and employment.
Taking part in Ambitious About Autism’s MyVoice EU debate it was clear that the students and young people were knowledgeable and engaged with the issues surrounding the EU referendum. They asked insightful and important questions surrounding why we should remain a member. Many also expressed their concerns about how leaving the European Union might impact on the provision of support for those with autism in schools and the impact it may have on disability rights. I found that their contributions reinforced why this referendum is so important for young people whose future this is ultimately about.
Since becoming a Member of Parliament I have taken an interest in raising awareness about autism and the educational and employment needs of those with the condition as well as their families. This visit provided me with further insight into the educational opportunities and the potential young people with autism have but it also was a reminder that the Government needs to offer more support for children with autism within the educational system and in employment across the whole of the country.
You can watch the question and answer session at: https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/understanding-autism/are-you-aged-16-25-and-on-the-spectrum/myvoice/autism-and-me/q-and-a-with-mp