Page last updated at 19:17 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Autism debate

MPs took part in a general debate on autism, tabled by the backbench business committee, on 20 November 2012.

Opening the debate, Conservative MP Robert Buckland said there were an estimated 88,0000 school children suffering from autism in England.

Greater awareness of the condition could lead to improved treatment and quicker diagnoses by doctors, he said.

Mr Buckland, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on autism, told MPs about the shock of discovering his ten-year-old daughter had the condition.

"You go through denial, you go through guilt, you go through anger, you go through shame; but you come through a rather difficult process with a firm realisation that everything that you can do for your child, you will," Mr Buckland said.

"I, like many parents, have been through that mill - have come out the other side of it - but I am left with a feeling that the system does not work, that we are still very much obsessed with process and not outcome, and that we seemingly encourage the creation of categories to fit children into rather than the other way round."

The backbench business committee is responsible for scheduling debates on 35 days during the current session, at least 27 of which will be debates in the main chamber of the House of Commons, with the remainder to be taken in Westminster Hall.

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