You and Yours

Radio 4

Autism season


Throughout October 2004 You and Yours ran a series of programmes
about autism, exploring many of the crucial issues that surround
this lifelong disability. Its aim was to demystify the condition
and assess the help and support that is available to the estimated
535,000 people who are affected by autism in the UK today, writes
Stuart Notholt.

The series was broad in scope. We heard from individuals with
autism, their parents and partners about their diverse experiences.
The possibility that autism is caused by genetic factors was
discussed, as were some of the many interventions and therapies
available, including applied behavioural analysis and picture
exchange communication system.

Also different approaches to education and inclusion were
considered, from mainstream schooling to specialist

In a climate that suffers from a severe lack of understanding of
autism, the National Autistic Society has been hugely encouraged by
this thorough and sensitive series. We know from the positive
feedback we have received that the series has helped raise
awareness of this complex condition and has deepened listeners’
understanding of the different ways autism can affect

Unfortunately time did not allow fuller coverage of employment.
Only 6 per cent of people with an autistic spectrum disorder are in
full time employment and the NAS is currently working to raise
awareness of this untapped resource in the UK workplace.

Stuart Notholt is director of policy and public affairs,
National Autistic Society

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