Autism Bill becomes England’s first law for specific disability

The Autism Bill has become England’s first law covering a specific disability, after the House of Lords joined the Commons in backing the legislation.

The bill, which will now receive Royal Assent, will put the government’s adult autism strategy, due next April, on a statutory footing, making it enforceable.

The strategy is designed to improve care, support and employment opportunities for people with autism and boost the skills of health and social care staff supporting them.

The legislation started off as a private member’s bill, drafted by the National Autistic Society and sponsored by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan, but it effectively became a government bill when ministers decided to amend it to incorporate the adult autism strategy.

NAS chief executive Mark Lever said: “This law could literally transform lives. It will add serious weight to the forthcoming adult autism strategy so now we’ll be keeping the pressure up on government to make sure they get it right and deliver lasting change for people with this serious, lifelong and disabling condition.”

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