Perils of interviews for autism sufferers

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As a supporter tof the National Autistic Society living in the area, I am extremely concerned about the government’s disability living allowance (DLA) reforms.

The reform means people with autism will have to undergo a stringent face-to-face assessment to claim this vital benefit. Autism is a hidden disability and unless assessors have specific training in the condition, it is very likely the needs of people with autism will be misunderstood or overlooked.

I would like to appeal to our local MP to bring this issue to parliament in line with the National Autistic Society’s Who Benefits? campaign, which puts forward the following four points aimed at protecting society’s most vulnerable:

z People should not have to go through a face-to-face assessment if they already have sufficient evidence about their autism from previous assessments

z People with autism experience a variety of difficulties in daily life. The government must make sure these are reflected in the new assessment.

z Assessors must be trained so that they understand autism and how to talk to someone with autism, and can make a fair assessment of that person’s needs

z The government must not abolish mobility component of DLA for people living in residential care

I urge others in the area to take action now by visiting www.autism.org.uk/whobenefits.

Iain Weir

Walkerburn