THE Scottish Government is seeking views on proposals to protect the rights of individuals with learning disabilities, autistic, and neurodivergent people.

The consultation includes proposals for more inclusive communications and mandatory training in the public sector to address the stigma and barriers people with disabilities often face.

It is part of preparations of a proposed Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill and will run for over 17 weeks, closing on April 24.

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

The National:

“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.”

The consultation has been co-designed with the lived experience advisory panel (Leap), including up to 27 people with experience of conditions including learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Down’s syndrome.

A stakeholder panel and a practitioner panel were also involved in preparing the consultation, including organisations and charities and a number of practitioners from groups providing support and other services.

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Enable, a charity supporting around 3000 people which wants the Government to set up a commissioner role to uphold the rights of people with learning disabilities, welcomed the launch of the consultation.

Heather Gilchrist, a member of Enable’s national self-advocacy forum, said: “The launch of this consultation is a welcome step on a path which must lead to a new law in this Parliament to protect the rights of people with learning disabilities.

“For too long, people with learning disabilities have not in reality had equal rights in our society. We have fewer chances in education, to find work, and to access the social care and support we need to live the life we choose.

“Existing laws and policies have not fixed this, so we need new legislation to help achieve a truly equal society for people with learning disabilities.

“We are pleased the Scottish Government agrees and has promised a new law to protect our rights. We need a commissioner role with the powers to hold public bodies to account when our rights are not being respected and to make sure everyone knows how we can be fully included in our communities.”