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Autism campaigner calls for more understanding
9:30am Monday 30th April 2012 in News
A LYMM man believes services to help adults with an ‘invisible disability’ have come a long way since he was first diagnosed with autism but still need improving.
Chris Maudsley, aged 25, was diagnosed with the disability, which affects how a person communicates and relates to other people, when he was three years old.
But the former Lymm High School pupil has not let it hold him back and has gone on to graduate from the University of York with a 2.1 degree in history.
As one of the lead voices appealing for changes in the town, Chris was also recently asked to speak at an event which launched a council consultation to improve services for adults with autism.
He said: “When I became involved with the early meetings, I came across a number of examples that alarmed me.
“One man with autism was cautioned three times by the police because they thought he was behaving suspiciously waiting outside a supermarket for it to open.
“Fortunately nothing like that has happened to me but a lot of people with autism face similar difficulties as it is an invisible disability and people’s needs are not immediately observable.”
One improvement, which is being discussed and which Chris believes could make a huge difference, is to provide cards for people on the autistic spectrum.
Chris, who is currently unemployed but would like to work in administration for local government, added: “It would mean people with autism can be approached in a way that responds to their needs and doesn’t make them feel threatened, worried or misinterpret the way someone is behaving.
“I had a place on a graduate scheme but my employers could not make the necessary adjustments for someone with autism.
“In the future I think it will be important for services to be tailored to the needs of individuals with autism.
“Everyone is different and people need to be made more aware of the services that are already out there.
“I want the voice of people with autism to be heard.”
Parents Keith and Maggie said they were very proud of their son’s positive attitude.
Keith, aged 60, said: “Chris has shown tremendous resilience and made the best of things at every stage.
“There’s still a need for greater awareness and understanding but we should pay tribute to Chris and the way he bounces back.”
The council’s autism consultation ends on May 2.
Visit warrington.gov.uk/ascconsul tation.