Autism Reality

"Open Every Door" – An Autism Song by Nimal Mendis

Sri Lanka-born superstar, Nimal Mendis recently released ‘Open Every Door,’ a song for autism. Mendis has created history by being the first South Asian singer/songwriter to compose a song on autism. He hopes that the song will create even more awareness about the condition.Mendis has backed the work of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK. A copy of ‘Open Every Door’ was presented to Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons. Leading British parliamentarian, Lee Scott MP for Ilford North who is championing the cause of autism in Westminster was also presented with a copy of ‘Open Every Nimal Mendis Song For Autism ‘Open Every Door’

Mendis has urged parliamentarians of all parties to do more for people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the United Kingdom. There are 587,900 people with autism in the UK. In London alone there are 15,000 people with autism from minority ethnic communities – including the Sri Lankan Community.According to UK researchers 1 in 100 children may haveautism spectrum disorder. In Sri Lanka they say there are 39,000 children with autism who have virtually no access to education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.

Nimal Mendis is an award winning singer songwriter. In the 1960s he released 22 pop songs on the Decca label in London. He appeared on BBC TV’s ‘Top of the Pops’ television programme with Sandra Edema singing his hit, ‘Feel like a Clown.’ One of his compositions reached Number One in the Radio Luxembourg Charts in the height of the 1960s. Mendis has also produced television documentaries for Channel 4 and BBC Television covering a range of issues including human rights and poverty.

May 11, 2007 Posted by | autism advocacy, autism awareness, Lee Scott, Nimal Mendis, Open Every Door, Tony Blair | Leave a comment

Autism in the UK – Will PM Tony Blair Take Action?

In Canada our Prime Minister Stephen Harper is oblivious to, if not outright hostile to, the needs and interests of autistic children and adults. In the UK though, there is an air of optimism that British Prime Minister Tony Blair intends to act to help the cause of 587,900 people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in that nation. Autism is an international health crisis. It will be great to see the UK’s autistic population received better health, education and residential care. Hopefully, if more national leaders take decisive action, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper might also be shamed into action.

UK Autism On Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Legacy Agenda

Main Category: Autism News

Article Date: 27 Apr 2007 – 14:00 PDT

The needs of the 587,900 people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome went straight up the political agenda when Prime Minister Tony Blair met with autism campaigner Ivan Corea and Lee Scott MP for Ilford North in the Prime Minister’s Office in the House of Commons on Wednesday 25th April.

Autism is on the legacy agenda of Tony Blair who leaves office in the summer. Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK presented the Prime Minister with The Autism Report calling for an urgent review of autism services for parents, carers and people with autism – the report highlighted the crying needs of people with autism in education, health,specialist speech therapy and respite care across the United Kingdom.

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK was set up in 2000 by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea who have a 11 year old son, Charin who has autism spectrum disorder. Since then they have been campaigning for better public services for all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The Autism Awareness Campaign UK has called on the Prime Minister to launch a 10 year program of action and a national strategy on autism.

The call for an urgent review of autism services was backed by three leading figures of the charity world in the United Kingdom: Dame Stephanie Shirley Chair of Autism Speaks and The Shirley Foundation, Colin Headley, Chief Executive of the Disabilities Trust and Julie Spencer-Cingoz Chief Executive of the British Institute of Brain Injured Children. Several community organisations and organisations from faith communities also supported the need for a review.

A copy of the National Autistic Society’s Make School Make Sense Campaign was also presented to the Prime Minister by Lee Scott MP.

Lee Scott, the leading parliamentarian, is championing the cause of autism in the House of Commons.Scott launched a landmark debate on autism in Westminster Hall on 7th March this year. It is now regarded as one of the most important debates on autism in parliament – he also quizzed Tony Blair on autism in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 21st March. Scott has given real impetus to the autism debate in Westminster.

Ivan Corea discussed the need for a 10 year program of action with the Prime Minister – The Autism Awareness Campaign UK are calling on the on the British Government to undertake a 10 year program of building specialist autism schools, building autism units in mainstream primary and secondary schools, tackle the failure of some secondary schools in bringing in educational strategies to deal with autistic children in a mainstream setting, access to further education and higher education, labour market opportunities for people with autism and to tackle the whole question of bullying and autistic children, the provision of recreational activities for autistic children. There is an urgent need for ring fenced funding for autism services in the UK.

Autism Campaigners are also calling on the Government to launch data a collection program across the UK to determine the exact number of people with autism. Campaigners are unsure if there is proper data collection across the UK to determine exact numbers of adults and children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Downing Street featured autism on the Prime Minister’s website, immediately after the high level meeting with Tony Blair in the House of Commons:

PM praised for speaking out on autism

25 April 2007

Ivan, Charika and Charin Corea A campaigner who represents the rights of people with autism met with Tony Blair in Parliament today.

Ivan Corea, Chair of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK, wanted to thank the Prime Minister for helping to bring the disorder into the public eye.

Autistic spectrum disorders are estimated to touch the lives of over 500,000 families throughout the UK.

After meeting with the PM and presenting him with a report requesting an urgent review of autism services for parents and carers, Mr Corea said:

“Tony Blair is the first sitting Prime Minister in living history ever to talk about autism in the House of Commons and outside parliament.

“I would like to commend the Prime Minister for having the courage of his convictions for speaking out on autism.”

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK was set up in 2000 to lobby for better public services for parents, carers and all people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ivan and his wife Charika paid tribute to the inspiration behind their tireless campaign – their 11-year-old son Charin who has the disorder.

“Charin has been such a blessing, we marvel at the way that he has become an overcomer, rising above the barriers and the label.”

April 28, 2007 Posted by | autism awareness, autism disorder, Autism Report, Lee Scott, Stephen Harper, Tony Blair, United Kingdom | Leave a comment

Inclusion Dogma Seductive but Harmful for Some Autistic Students

UK MP Lee Scott has criticized the UK government for placing politically correct inclusion dogma ahead of the needs of autistic school children. While inclusion sounds good it hasn’t always helped some autistic school children or their classmates.

“Autism needs debated at Westminster

By Sam Adams

A REDBRIDGE MP has criticised the Government for putting political correctness’ before the needs of autistic children.

Lee Scott, MP for Ilford North, secured a special parliamentary debate at Westminster last week, calling for the creation of more special schools, three of which currently exist in Redbridge.

The MP believes the Government’s focus on educational inclusiveness’ has left many youngsters with the condition struggling in mainstream schools when they would develop more effectively in special schools.

He said: “The dogmatic approach of placing all pupils with special needs in mainstream schools has frequently benefited neither them or the children whom they are educated alongside.

“Many of us have at some time been seduced by the theory of inclusion which seems so nice and reasonable and politically correct, but there is clear evidence that it does not work for every autistic child.“

The MP criticised the Government for closing down some special schools, and claimed many mainstream schools are unable to provide the learning support needed by autistic youngsters.

He said: “We have seen seven per cent of special schools closed down since 1997 and in a recent report 44 per cent of teachers in local comprehensives admitted they weren’t confident in teaching kids with autism.”

The MP praised the work of the borough’s current special schools, Hatton School in Clayhall, Newbridge School in Ilford and New Rush Hall School, Hainault, but said provision needed to be expanded further.

Replying for the Government, the Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning Bill Rammell said: “I genuinely welcome this debate and the efforts that the hon. Member for Ilford North has made to bring these important issues to the public’s attention.”

March 16, 2007 Posted by | autism, autism education, autistic, inclusion, learning, Lee Scott, political correctness, schools, special needs | 1 Comment