As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, Dame Cheryl MP was delighted to have members of her parliamentary staff undergo autism training last week.
Delivered by two members of the National Autistic Society, David MacKenzie and George Stanbury, Dame Cheryl’s staff heard about the challenges that autistic people can face and how to communicate with them more effectively, their strengths, and were given practical guidance on how to support autistic people in MP advice surgeries and on the phone.
Dame Cheryl commented: “I was honoured last year to host the first ever ‘Understanding Autism’ session for MPs and felt it was especially important that my own staff received this training so they too can better support and understand the needs of autistic people, as so often it is Members’ staff who are first to communicate and engage with constituents.
“With every MP having approximately 1,000 people in their constituency with autism, it is crucial that this training is extended across the House of Commons, as well as to all those who have public facing responsibilities. I look forward to seeing more Members of Parliament and their staff undertake autism training with an event later this year so we can create an environment, and indeed a society, that truly works for autistic people.”
David MacKenzie, Senior Public Affairs Officer at The National Autistic Society, said: "We were really pleased that Dame Cheryl’s team took part in our Understanding Autism session. One in 100 people are autistic and many face problems getting the right education, social and health care. So, it’s vital that MPs have a good understanding of what it can be like to be autistic and how they can better support autistic constituents.
“Dame Cheryl, as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, has been instrumental in making sure that autism is high on the parliamentary agenda and encouraging other MPs and their staff to improve their own understanding of autism.
“We’re hoping to work with many more MPs and their offices over the coming months – and make sure this leads to better support and representation for autistic people and their families.”
If you would like to know more about autism awareness training for your company or organisation, please contact the National Autistic Society on firstname.lastname@example.org.