On Wednesday 29th of March, day three of Autism Awareness Week Jon Cruddas MP hosted a coffee morning at Londoneast-UK, Dagenham East. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. 1 in 100 people in the UK have a diagnosis of autism.

The coffee morning allowed parents from both boroughs of Jon's constituency to come along and speak about all things autism. Parents who attended spoke of their autism journey with their child, and informed Jon about struggles and frustrations based on the matter of simply ‘being misunderstood.'

Issues such as lack of care after diagnosis, prejudice towards parents when out with their autistic child, lack of services, and lack of job opportunities for adults with autism were discussed. Jon was keen to hear about his constituent's everyday life living with autism, and asked many questions wanting to be educated. Jon spoke of how important it is to have events to promote awareness so the public can be made aware.

The coffee morning was a success, parents posed for a photo with Jon at the end of the session and gave feedback afterwards to Havering Coordinator Fay Hough, expressing how impressed they were with the morning and how great it was to have a politician take his time out to listen to their stories.

Jon Cruddas MP said: "It was really important for me to meet with constituents during Autism Awareness Week, as autism is such a wide spectrum that effects so many lives and I believe we need to continue to raise awareness. Hearing real life stories, and discussing real life issues that matter to these parents gave me an insight in to the impact that autism has on a family. I was impressed by the strength and courage that the parents showed as they continue to fight for the right therapy and support for their child."

Fay Hough, Havering Coordinator said: "It was a pleasure to spend my morning with such inspirational people. As a mother of a child with autism I understand how hard every day life can be, and the parents we met this morning showed tremendous strength. The coffee morning was a great opportunity for constituents to put their concerns to a Member of Parliament and I am really happy that the morning was a success."