More needs to be done to help those with autism get on the career ladder

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Friday 28 October 2016 19:31 BST
A report has found that only 16 per cent of autistic people are in full time work
A report has found that only 16 per cent of autistic people are in full time work (iStock)

As director of a school that specialises in the education for boys with additional support needs and one of the first independent schools in Scotland to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society, I was saddened to read their recent report that only one in six autistic people are in full -time paid work.

Their findings show that only 16 per cent of autistic people are in full time work, compared with 80 per cent of the general population and 47 per cent of disabled people. This is a disappointing proportiomn that has shown no improvement over the past decade.

It is for this reason that I wish to join the National Autistic Society in calling for more training, not only for people who are working to help people with autism find a job, but prospective employers who might have employment opportunities available.

Whilst one of the difficulties facing people with autism is the number of employers who do not understand autism, it is also true that employers are not aware of the huge contribution that people with autism can make to the work place in terms of the specialist skills they have to offer and a pride in their work. If employers were given the resources and training to better understand the condition and how to support those with autism, the interview and employment process could be adjusted accordingly to see through these barriers.

It is with this in mind that I would urge employers to find out more about autism, allowing them to see past the label and what an asset to their company autistic people could be.

Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School

We need to consider nature when discussing airport expansion

Steve Ford (Letters, 27 October), lucky fellow, lives in Haydon Bridge near Hadrian’s Wall, which is the opposite end of England from Cliffe in Kent. He suggests that the area north of this village would be suitable for a new London airport instead of expanding Heathrow. This village lies on the Hoo peninsula and abuts the area known as the Thames Estuary and Marshlands which are indeed very large, desolate in some ways, devoid of human beings and sit right next to the Thames. And the centre of London is only about 30 miles away. Except for nature lovers, not many in Kent go there or even know about them. I have umpired hockey at Hoo St Werburgh and have some acquaintance with this marshland.

You would have thought what a perfect solution to the Heathrow expansion problem, apart from relieving south-west Londoners from a great deal of noise and pollution. The objection is simple: this marshland is one of the most important natural wetlands in Northern Europe which sees more than 300,000 migrant birds using the mudflats as a regular haven in their migratory journeys between the Artic and Africa. The marshes are listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protected Area (SPA). I might add that the marshes also offer invaluable flood protection for London.

So, just for once, the inhabitants of Earth other than human beings must take precedence.

David Ashton

We need an early general election

On BBC1’s Question Time last night, one of the panellists reprimanded an MP for disagreeing with his constituents over the referendum concerning the EU. We used to hear a lot about the sovereignty of parliament as a reason for leaving the EU, but don’t we elect an MP to exercise their judgement for the good of the country?

I am assured by an eminent figure of the law that the referendum is only advisory, and must be ratified by Parliament, a view which I am told was once held by our former Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Let's have a general election to get us out of this mess.

Ian Burford

What are pilots’ views on Heathrow?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling tell us that the ramp projected for the Heathrow third runway is “a very gentle hill”. This seems on a par with the phrase “a little bit pregnant”.

Pilots have shown distinct unease over the suggestion and they surely are the people we should be listening to.

Andrew McLuskey

Russia is untrustworthy

I can only hope Mary Dejevsky's article on Russia does not represent this paper's official stance.

Dejevsky sounds like some kind of PR agent for Russia. I mean, really: has she forgotten about Crimea? Seemingly not worth mentioning here. Well, in case she has forgotten it, let us repeat: after Russia crossed the border of an independent country and invaded a part of it and claimed it as Russia's own, she fully earned the total loss of respect and trust in the West.

Russia alone has caused its current position in the world; untrustworthy, unpredictable, suspicious. And these are kind words to describe Russia. Luckily many major Western countries understand to be sceptical when Russia tries to present itself as something else than a predator that can't be trusted.

I can only hope the other people in the press would take a more responsible and reliable stance when dealing with Russia.

Karita Mattila

Cherie’s worry for her granddaughter is justified

I sympathise with Cherie Blair’s personal concern for her new granddaughter.

The fearful worry of the child's looming “gender-pay-gap-future” is a problem of such insuperable magnitude I wonder how Cherie can sleep at night.

Diana Bur

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