UKAF urges Government to help poor families with autism in the UK and in Haiti Hundreds of people joined dignitaries including the Financial Secretary to HM Government, Treasury Minister Stephen Timms, Health Select Committee Member Lee Scott, Redbridge Council Leader Cllr Keith Prince, Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Redbridge Cllr Lambert and Mrs Lambert, CEOs of autism charities and disability organisations to the London Service for Autism Sunday on 14th February at All Saint’s Church in Woodford Wells – in the London Borough of Redbridge. The Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Leader of the Opposition David Cameron, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, international pop legend Sir Cliff Richard, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls, Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey were among a host of dignitaries who sent their best wishes for Autism Sunday, now a major worldwide event. Autism Sunday was founded in 2002 Autism Awareness Year by British autism campaigners, Ivan and Charika Corea who are parents and carers of a 14 year old teenager with autism, Charin Corea. What started as a small acorn of an idea in their front room has blossomed into a massive event, observed in many nations. The campaigners initiated the Autism Awareness Campaign in the UK in 2000 and founded a new charity the UK Autism Foundation with a view to lobbying and campaigning on behalf of the poor. Recently Ivan Corea of UKAF presented the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow with an autism awareness ribbon to mark Autism Sunday 2010 at an NAS reception. UKAF joined many charities at the Speaker’s Reception for Autism in parliament. The Speaker John Bercow sent his best wishes for Autism Sunday. In the United States autism campaigners have written to President Barack Obama at the White House urging him to raise more awareness of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome – the US campaign was launched to mark Autism Sunday 2010. The London Service for Autism Sunday also featured a film ‘Thing called Autism,’ by a mother of a 7 year old boy with autism from the US, Janice Cox who has written autism poetry to mark Autism Sunday. ‘Thing called Autism’ was also highlighted by primetime American Television on Autism Sunday. Ivan Corea, co-founder of Autism Sunday was interviewed by Reverend Paul Harcourt at the service, he said: ‘I urge Her Majesty’s Government to reach out and help the poor – there are many more families and people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the United Kingdom who are below the poverty line as a result of the credit crunch and the recession, Some are even facing re-possessions. They need urgent help and better public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.’ He added: ‘ I am also urging the Government to help re-build the Autism Clinic in Haiti. The clinic was completely demolished by the earthquake. I have contacted the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander to spend a fraction of the promised £18 million aid package to Haiti to re-build the clinic. My heart sank when I saw the television news of the disabled dying of starvation on the road and there was no one coming to their aid. I kept thinking what if it was my son who was on that road? I appeal to HM Government not to walk by on the other side and help re-build the Autism Clinic in Haiti.’ Mr. Corea called on local councils to reach out and support parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and address issues such as the provision of blue badges to families with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome to adequate respite care. Also present at the Autism Sunday service was Sandy Howarth (Author of “No Matter What” – Autism) Mrs Howarth released a statement after the service:’ Autism Sunday 2010 – marked a very special day of prayer for all people with Autism – to show the love, care and acceptance of the challenges with hope and prayer for the future. I thank Ivan and Charika Corea for making this day possible and for their endless efforts in helping the Autistic community. Autism is a life long condition. I hope that our prayers will be answered in offering each and every individual on the Autistic Spectrum a chance to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Let’s raise the standards for all by offering not just a provision but the necessary provision to help them achieve their true potential.’ UK Autism Foundation Woodford Business Centre 113-115 George Lane South Woodford London E18 1AB United Kingdom Telephone: 020 8989 4810 Fax: 020 8989 5164 E-Mail: Website: Charity Registration Number: 1124511