Great chance to 'stand up for autism'

3rd April 2009 at 01:00

Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day, which this year focused on the theme "Stand Up For Autism".

I hope that the various activities planned to mark the day have helped to raise awareness and banish ignorance about autism along with other associated learning disabilities among the general population.

Unfortunately, it remains the case that people with autism and other learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to be unemployed than other members of the general population. That is less the fault of those individuals than it is a mark of society's failure to harness the potential of these people.

In Sweden, the IT consultancy firm Left is Right has been set up as a successful and expanding business staffed entirely by people with an autistic spectrum disorder - precisely because that is the sort of work that people with autism can be phenomenally good at.

Let's hope that a few UK entrepreneurs are similarly inspired to create suitable opportunities for people with autism to realise their potential, rather than being left isolated and unsupported - as too many currently are.

Sophie Dow, founder, Mindroom, Musselburgh.

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