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Ignorance about autism

29th October 2007

Researchers in Wales have found many people see children with autism as being "simply badly behaved".

Lonely Boy

A report published by the National Autistic Society Cymru (NAS Cymru) showed that almost half of those surveyed (43%) wrongly associated people with the condition as being gifted in mathematics or art.

NAS Cymru will start an awareness campaign to improve public understanding of autism. It is also asking the Welsh Assembly Government to improve awareness of the condition.

Shirley Parsley, NAS Cymru's national co-ordinator, said: "By encouraging people to think differently and understand more about autism, NAS Cymru hopes to improve the lives of thousands of people with the condition."

The condition is thought to affect over 26,000 people in Wales. People who have autism or Asperger's syndrome can find it difficult to communicate and make friendships.

NAS Cymru's Think Differently - Act Positively report showed that the public had varying degrees of understanding about the condition. Nearly half (44%) knew that autism is incurable. Over a quarter (25%) thought the condition mostly affected children.

The report also stated that if members of the public knew more about autism they would be able and more "willing" to interact with people with the condition. 75% said they would be "happy to work" with an autistic person.

However, the report showed that there were ongoing difficulties in locating assistance for children with the condition and their parents, particularly in schools.

Ms Parsley said: "We are calling on the public, professionals and government to act positively to ensure people with autism have the same rights and freedoms as the rest of society."




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