Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Grampian autism alert card debate

SNP MSP Mark McDonald led a member's debate on the launch of the autism alert card in Grampian saying "it will make an improved understanding of autism in the criminal justice system" on 12 December 2012.

The alert card includes details of a personal contact who can take police and support organisations through the best ways to help an individual with autism, particularly in highly pressurised situations.

Mr McDonald said that the National Autistic Society Scotland welcomed the introduction referring to it as a watershed moment for Grampian.

There are thought to be 50,000 Scots with autism with nearly 6,000 of those living in the Grampian region.

Similar cards have already been introduced in Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders and Highlands and Islands.

In his motion Mr McDonald believes that the card will help to ensure that those with the condition are quickly identified.

The North East MSP said "as we move to a national police force, the government could consider making this a national scheme".

Sport and Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison, standing in for Public Health Minister Michael Matheson, welcomed the introduction of the card in Grampian.

Ms Robison said it would " help address the unique challenges people with autism face especially if they are a victim of crime".

Last year Mr Matheson launched a strategy for autism and Asperger Syndrome with over £13.4m being spent over four years.

Ms Robison said "we are making good progress while acknowledging there is still much to be done".

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