The National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for people with autism, their families and carers, will hold the Building Bridges conference on 18 July 2005 from 9.30am – 4pm at Friends House in Euston, London, with The Afiya Trust. It is the first of five conferences planned for 2005 to specifically raise awareness of and promote support for families affected by autism from black and minority ethnic communities in the UK.
Autism affects around one in 110 people in the UK and about 40% of the UK’s black and ethnic minority (BME) communities live in London. Therefore it can be estimated that there are likely to be around 17,500 families in London from BME communities affected by autism.
However, the NAS has found that the uptake of its advice and support services in the London area does not reflect the ethnic mix of the population. The BME Project along with the introduction of Language Line, a three way phone conference service which allows non-English speaking callers to access the Autism Helpline through interpreters in over 120 languages, were launched last year to address this deficit.
Prithvi Perepa, the NAS Development Officer for the BME Project, said “Since the launch of the project last year we have gathered knowledge about the experiences of families coming from these communities, and built relationships with the community organisations. We are now ready to take our work a step further and offer specialist advice for families and communities affected by autism who have been reluctant to address the problem due to lack of understanding and support.”
Through the conference the NAS will bring together individuals with autism, their families and carers, and professionals working in the field to understand each others perspective, to share good practice and to plan the way forward. If you would like more information about the conference or would like to attend, please contact the NAS Training and Consultancy team on 0115 911 3363 or email