I was delighted to attend 2017's Autism Awareness Event in Ardrossan Outdoor Bowling Club, an event I have been attending for some years now. This year I was joined by Christina Larsen and Roberta Bianchini. Kenneth Gibson MSP was also in attendance.
Thanks to Jordan Fernando and her mum, Suzanne for turning this Ardrossan event into something of a fixture in the local calendar. 700,000 people across the UK are affected by this condition, that is more than 1 out of every 100 people. That means that autism is part of daily life for around 2.8 million people.
Without understanding and support those with autism and their families are at risk of social isolation and developing mental health challenges.
Autism is a lifelong condition but the correct support can have a huge impact on those living with autism.
Locally we have the fantastic Astra Base in Ardrossan Academy and a £25million Scottish Government funded state-of-the-art facility for pupils with additional support needs at Auchenharvie Academy is to be built soon.
Such support for young people will do a great deal to help them to realise their full potential.
We still have work to do to raise awareness and understanding of this condition but we have come a long way even in the last ten years. The work goes on.