The Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown celebrated the work of autism charities at an event at Downing Street. The UK Autism Foundation was one of several charities to attend the event on Thursday, which allowed organisations to share ideas and resources and look at ways charities in the autism sector can work together. Ivan Corea of the UK Autism Foundation called for new ways of thinking and new ways of working in autism at the event, and raised many issues with Mrs Brown and Health Minister Phil Hope, who also attended the event. He said: Sarah Brown helped to bring lots of people to the table to discuss issues surrounding autism, which was a very useful thing. However we still need to extend the net and get more people involved in these kind of events and discussions. There are hundreds of charities doing great work across the UK but which don't have the chance to be involved. I called for an autism stakeholder group to be set up so more people can contribute to the the debate and discussion surrounding autism, work in partnership with each other and look at good practice. I also called on the Government to launch a national campaign to celebrate success of people with autism and Asperger syndrome. I believe - and this starts with my 13-year-old son who has autism - that people with autism need to see positive role models. I want to see people such as campaigner Kevin Healey and artist Stephen Wiltshire celebrated for their contribution to life in this country. Another point I raised with Sarah Brown was the struggle obtaining blue badges for parents and carers of children and adults with autism and Asperger syndrome. The Government must look at this. Autism will be a serious issue in the next general election and all three parties need to reach out to families affected by the condition. The UK Autism Foundation is a British autism charity that aims to build the first state of the art Autism Centre in London, build an autism school and launch initiatives to help the poor. For more information visit www.urkautismfoundation.org.

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