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What are your thoughts on a new Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill?

By David Porter

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Views are being sought on proposals to better protect, respect and champion the rights of people with learning disabilities, autistic and neurodivergent people.

The Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill consultation includes proposals that would provide benefits in many areas of life, including more inclusive communications and mandatory training in the public sector to address the stigma and barriers people often face.

Maree Todd
Maree Todd

Mental Health Minister Maree Todd said: “People with learning disabilities, autistic people and neurodivergent people make up around 15 per cent of our society and many of them think and see the world differently.

"This shouldn’t cause them to be stigmatised and disadvantaged and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that their rights are respected.

“This public consultation has been designed alongside people with lived experience, and we have worked closely with third sector organisations and support providers to ensure those who know the challenges best are at the heart of any action we take. I am keen to hear views from as many people as possible on our proposals. I am confident that, together, we can build a fairer Scotland for all.”

Hannah Roussel and Jim Gault, Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP), co-Chairs said: “This public consultation marks what we hope will be a significant milestone on the journey towards the fair and inclusive society Scotland aspires to be. If we get this right, Scotland has the opportunity to become a leading light, not just in the UK, but across the world. We are grateful to the Scottish Government for involving all of us on the LEAP so committedly, seeking always to place the voice of those with lived experience at the heart of this process.

“We on the LEAP are agreed that the status quo is not an option; there must be accountability, people with lived experience must be included, and what benefits us benefits all.

“We urge everyone to seize this unique opportunity to help define the Scotland we all aspire to build here and now, and for generations to come, by engaging with and responding to this consultation.”

The consultation will run from today for over 17 weeks, closing on April 21.

The publication of the consultation delivers on the Scottish Government commitment to consult on the Bill by the end of 2023.

Scoping work for the Bill took place during 2022, with an analysis of that work published in February this year.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

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