Kevin Healey at NO 10 for the Autism Campaign that he launched

In May 2010, i launched the ‘It’s Time For Change -Stand-up For Autism’ project.

The petition asks the major political party leaders to put autism at the top of their agendas.

So far i have had support from celebrities and MPs and backing from the National Autistic Society (NAS) for my campaign – which started in Stoke, but has since grown nationwide.

I’m chairman of Staffordshire Adults Autistic Society(SAAS)  “Enough is enough. Now it’s about time the government woke up to autism. Over 500,000 are affected in the UK and with the recent autism act only half a million pounds have been ploughed into autism; it’s ridiculous.

i get hundreds of calls each month with people at breaking point. They struggle to access the right support, i.e. housing, benefits, respite care and employment. I have known people to take their own lives, families and marriages break up, and more and the Government need to act now and do more for autism.

(taken from the mapping project for the city in 2004) the waiting list for a diagnosis in Stoke can be 10 months, due to the service only operating two and a half hours a week.

Staffordshire has “around 11,000 people with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), “There are 1023 children under 16 in Stoke alone with an ASD”.

thousands of people have signed the petition, including local MPs Joan Walley, Rob Flello and Paul Farrelly. Celebrity astrologer Russell Grant is also amongst the supporters.

SAAS recently launched the first national autism radio station in the UK – Autism Radio UK an internet based service manned by those affected by autism and Aspergers syndrome, which provides information and news to others.

it’s time for change Campaign stand up for Autism with Kevin Healey

Last November the government passed the Autism Act 2009 , the first legislation of its kind in the UK. It sets in law the requirement for the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for meeting the needs of autistic adults. This then has to be enacted by local authorities and the NHS.

The act was first brought to parliament by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan who agreed to take forward a private member’s bill on autism in late 2008.

A similar bill is currently going before the Scottish parliament.

Only 15% of adults with autism in the UK are in full-time paid employment