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Actor backs campaign to put focus on autism

ACTOR Richard Wilson has given his backing to a report on autism calling for the Scottish Government to increase its commitment to tackling the condition.

QUALITY OF LIFE: Michael Clarkson said access to the right support helped him come to terms with Asperger syndrome. Picture: Mark Mainz
QUALITY OF LIFE: Michael Clarkson said access to the right support helped him come to terms with Asperger syndrome. Picture: Mark Mainz

The One Foot in the Grave star is an ambassador for National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland which today publishes its Count Us In: It Pays To Listen report.

The document urges the Government to help people with autism by giving them a say in decisions that affect them.

A new survey shows that 91% of sufferers want more say over their support, while 66% feel they do not have enough support.

It also revealed that 69% of adults with autism haven't had an assessment of their needs since turning 18 and 79% feel the public has a poor or very poor understanding of autism.

Mr Wilson said: "People with autism may see the world differently from many of us, but they have strong, valuable opinions on the kind of support needed to access the same opportunities most of us take for granted.

"The right support at the right time can make the difference between someone experiencing isolation and related mental health problems or actively contributing to society. "

The TV star will join a group of people with autism and their families to hand over the report to Mark McDonald MSP.

Around 50,000 people in Scotland have autism and the document calls on the Government to appoint an autism employment ambassador to champion workplace opportunities for people with the condition.

Sufferer, Michael Clarkson, 39, of Glasgow, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome 10 years ago.

The IT specialist claims access to the right support can make a huge difference, and wants the Government to prioritise improved access to diagnosis.

He said: "Access to the right support can make a huge, positive difference. My diagnosis helped me understand my condition."

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