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Families from marginalised groups face a plethora of ongoing challenges. For those with autistic children to care for, these can be especially onerous.

In the context  of World Autism Awareness Day, marked each year on 2 April, ESN and its members reiterated their ongoing commitment to highlighting the need to help improve quality of life for autistic people, including children. Being able to lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society should be a given, yet this is often not the case.

The Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at ESN’s member, the University of Birmingham, works on developing evidence-based practice and provision in autism services across the lifespan by conducting research aimed at improving the quality of life for autistic people and their families.  

An example of their research is the project “Marginalised families”. This aims to highlight the challenges that parents from minority ethnic communities face when accessing services in the UK for children on the autism spectrum, such as the impact of a diagnosis for their child on their finances and employment.

The impetus for the project came from a research project investigating the causes and implications of exclusion for autistic children and young people in schools. The study found that children from minority ethnic communities are more likely to be excluded compared to other children and young people with a diagnosis of autism.

The ongoing work conducted by ACER is a primary example of how evidence-based research can help foster wider inclusion for autistic people and their families.A person wearing glasses smiling

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“ We hope that our continued effort at raising awareness as well as contributing to professional skill development will lead to more culturally aware workforce in the field of autism. We also hope that our policy work could lead to changes at policy level.” – Prithvi Perepa, Associate Professor, University of Birmingham