AS a non-verbal child my eight-year-old autistic son struggles to be heard or make his wishes known.

The world must be a difficult, confusing and frustrating place for him much of the time. We have tried so many ways to provide a functional method of him getting his message across.

It dawned on me this week that sadly there is a parallel here with raising autism awareness and making the case for proper services. The irony is that it is not always with the general public, who are so often responsive, encouraging and approachable about disability. Sadly, the problem is often with those who should frankly know better. I have slowly discovered that politicians, policy makers and professionals are where the real work needs to be concentrated.

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Notable exceptions aside, I have been disappointed at the lack of appropriate responses to concerns or issues raised. In the last few months we have experienced social work managers who have declined invitations to visit, emails and letters to the local and national press that have sought answers about the current governments autism strategy and local services that have failed to receive any reply or acknowledgment. Four of our five parliamentary candidates declined invites to come and find out about our son's needs as we could not attend hustings.

Disability is often used to make political capital or provide handsome salaries and positions for individuals. Is it perhaps time there was more engagement with those affected?

Duncan F MacGillivray,

Oakcrest, 60 Victoria Road, Dunoon.

WE note that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has carried out its threat to refuse to answer questions from, Disability News Service (DNS) editor John Pring ("inside Track: DWP and its dispute with a disability warrior", The Herald, April 22). Mr Pring is an experienced journalist, who has been reporting on disability issues for nearly 20 years. He launched DNS in April 2009 to provide in-depth reporting in both the specialist and mainstream media on issues that affect the lives of disabled people.

Numerous disability groups rely on the Disability News Service to keep them informed. By refusing to communicate with Mr Pring the DWP is refusing to communicate with millions of disabled people. The actions of the DWP are counter to transparent government and freedom of the press, upon which a functioning democracy rely. We consider the actions of the DWP to be highly offensive and discriminatory.

We fully support Mr Pring and insist that DWP perform its public duty to talk to the press without bias or favour.

John McArdle, Black Triangle Campaign; Dr Stephen Carty, Black Triangle Campaign; Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) Steering Group; Debbie Jolly, Co-Founder DPAC; Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland;

Norma Curran, Values into Action Scotland and Scottish Campaign for a Fair Society; Pat Onions, Pat's Petition; Simon Barrow, Co-Director, Ekklesia; Rick Burgess #newapproach; Jane Bence #newapproach; Rosemary O'Neill, CarerWatch; Frances Kelly, CarerWatch; Ian Jones, WoW Campaign; John McDonnell MP; Karen Machin, St Helens, mental health carer; Peter Beresford, Co-Chair, Shaping Our Lives; Steve Preece, Welfare Weekly;

Charles Huddleston; Mo Stewart, Independent Researcher; Annie Bishop, Independent Advocate; Gail Ward, disability rights campaigner; Jo Walker, disability rights campaigner; Anne Ross, multiple sclerosis activist

Dr Rhetta Moran, RAPAR; Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Streatham; Steve Griffiths, researcher in social and health policy; Steve Donnison, Benefits and Work; Neal Lawson, Compass; Rosemary Trustam , Publisher, Community Living magazine; Ellen Clifford, DPAC; Andy Green, DPAC; Paula Peters, DPAC; Anita Bellows, DPAC ; Roger Lewis, DPAC steering group ; Bob Ellard, DPAC Steering Group; Catherine Hale, disability activist; Michelle Maher, WoW Campaign; Josh Petzoldt, member of UCL Staff Disability Forum and National Association of Disabled Staff Networks; Dr Simon Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform; Alan Wheatley;

Sam Barnett-Cormack; Pam Pinder, CarersforumUK; Judy Hamilton; Caroline Richardson, Spartacus Network; Paul Bepey, BBC Ability Chair, Access Technology Manager/Assistive technology lead; Melanie Sharpe and Dr Hamied Haroon, Co-Chairs of the Disabled Network at the University of Manchester; Steve McIndoe, University of Manchester, Adam Lotun, disability risk management consultant, Workplace Disability Adjustments; Carole Ford, WowCampaign; Susan Inness, Disabled Library assistant, University of Nottingham; Lesley Beebe, Bradford University; Karen Reissman, Union NEC (PC); Susan Stubbs, University of Manchester; Angela Thompson;

Jenny Hambidge,

c/o Black Triangle Campaign, 17 W. Montgomery Place, Edinburgh.