Monday, 27 February 2012

Will You Help Us Raise Awareness?

The 2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day and we are again asking for your help to raise awareness!

Last year we asked for your photographs and we created your video (ACT NOW are Marching On), which is wonderfully moving. This year, we want to make up a montage of excerpts from your written comments and we would also welcome videoed comments, which we can edit down into soundbites.

We want to include people from all across the UK who are affected by or have autism and we want to (again) create another powerful and real video.

ACT NOW is evolving and in April we will be re-branding but fundamentally we are a campaign group so with this video we hope to encourage those in power to watch and learn -  from you!

Here are a range of topics we would welcome your comments/video's on:

Social Care
Welfare Reform and Employment
Adult Services
Daily life

If you are happy to leave a comment then please do either here on the blog or on one of our Facebook pages or groups. Alternatively, if you want to do a short video, then please email Teresa at for more information about where to upload it to.

We can't wait to hear from you - lets raise awareness together!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Morally Bankrupt!

"The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy..." (Hubert H Humphery)

The UK is now morally bankrupt!

After the Welfare Reform Bill suffered 7 defeats in the House of Lords it was brought back to the House of Commons on Wednesday 1st February where MPs voted to overturn each of the amendments made in the House of Lords.

The Speaker of the House then declared the Bill a 'Money Bill' - the Government had announced its intention to use ‘financial privilege’ on some amendments to get them through parliament in advance of the Bill going back to the House of Commons.

The Coalition Government is ‘not for turning’ no matter what the emotional cost as well as the financial cost might be.

Many of the changes that are currently being forced through parliament, by fair means or foul, are not to be found anywhere in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat election manifestos. There was nothing in either manifesto about any plans to reform Disability Living Allowance and no mention of the NHS reform either.

It would appear that voters were led up the garden path. It is however the disabled and their carers who have found themselves pushed towards their limit this week - the very people David Cameron pledged to protect!

During the last 18 months people with disabilities have seen themselves dehumanised and demonised in the press. Scroungers is a word that we are now all too familiar with and levels of anxiety and stress have risen sharply within the autism community.

This has badly affected the emotional well being of people who do not choose to be disabled. Disability can affect any of us at any time and yet we are living in a society that is rapidly moving towards/back towards the exclusion of people with disabilities, because we are deemed to be too costly for society to support. We are in effect ‘not worthy’.

Back to a time when people with an invisible disability are afraid to say publicly that they are disabled - this is not the kind of society that we should be striving to live in and yet public opinion has already been swayed by the demonisation of disability in the media.

Not content with pushing families living with disability towards an abyss of despair, the handy work of this Bill is now likely to see families who have a disabled child fighting with each other over whose child is the most severely disabled. (Children who are deemed not to be disabled enough will have their support cut by half.)

This is abhorrent, cruel and immoral and again, is most likely to affect families with a child whose disability is 'hidden'.

Children with disabilities and serious illness are also to lose their entitlement to National Insurance contributions. an entitlement that politicians right across the house have in the past supported. ACT NOW is seriously concerned and finds this yet another clear indicator of the devaluation of children and adults with a disability.

Today (Friday3rd Feb) there are reports in the Press that David Cameron is going to spend 8 million pounds on a ‘Happiness Index’ which has now been expanded to cover ‘the meaning of life’:-

Do you really want to know how we feel Prime Minister?

We feel let down, devalued, demoralised and devastated by the long term implications of this Bill. Far from happy.