March 2019 – World Autism Awareness Week

March 2019 – World Autism Awareness Week

Thank you for contacting me about supporting people with autism.

First let me commend the excellent work the National Autistic Society is doing in raising awareness of the challenges faced by people with autism in the workplace and in public places. The ‘Too Much Information’ campaign and the Autism Friendly Award are making excellent progress in making businesses and public spaces more accessible to autistic people. It is excellent that Parliament has been recognised for its commitment to ensuring people with autism and their families can have arrangements made to help them use a building or facility, and that staff both understand and can adapt to their specific needs.

I am encouraged by the range of programmes and initiatives in place to support people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, including autism, in employment. By March 2017, 1,000 Job Centre Plus staff had been trained to provide the best possible support to claimants who have autism.

New measures were launched to help people with autism to mark World Autism Awareness Week. This includes a Disability Confident autism toolkit, which provides comprehensive information on autism and hidden impairments, as well as guidance on employment and local authority services. The Department for Work and Pensions has also helped develop a Disability Passport to support people with autism who are seeking jobs and those helping them. Sharing this with their work coach or adviser can help improve communication and put any reasonable adjustments in place at the earliest opportunity.