On Thursday 2 February, Sophie Graham gave an insightful overview of a topic not many people were familiar with. She informatively explained what autism is and ways in which autism relates to politics in the UK.

Sophie started by informing us about how autism is treated and dealt with by the NHS under the various governments of the last few years. Quite alarmingly, she pointed out that around 88,000 people in England are waiting for an autism diagnosis assessment and without proper long term funding for diagnosis services across the UK, this number will only continue to grow, with people who need help and support being deprived of it.

The National Autistic society protest and campaign for greater help for people with autism and have been successful in many ways over the last decade or so. In 2016, their Every teacher campaign was signed by over 7000 people which asked for teacher training to involve awareness of how to deal with autistic students. Furthermore, the charity’s I Exist campaign identified the lack of support for autistic adults in England and led to the implementation of the Autism Act, which has helped improve services for autistic adults.

The growing awareness and support for autistic people shows signs of progress in England, but Sophie pointed out that significant work still needs to be done to ensure those who need support have access to it and are not isolated or marginalised against. Sophie helped everyone increase their knowledge of what autism is and how we can help autistic people at school by giving an illuminating and passionate talk.