AN AUTISM campaigner has called for people with the condition to be more included at the Paralympics.
At the moment, people with learning difficulties can only take part in exhibition events at the Game,s and they must have an IQ under 75.
But Anna Kennedy, who runs Hillingdon Manor school for children with autism in Hillingdon, said many people on the autistic spectrum and people with Aspergers, who excel at sport, often have an IQ above that.
Ms Kennedy, who received an OBE this year for her work on autism and is volunteering at the Paralympics, began researching how many people with the condition were already entered into the Games.
She was told that as far as organisers were aware no one with autism was competing, although there may be some who have the condition alongside another disability.
She said: “They said this might be on their medical records but was not information they could release without permission. It is another case of autism being a hidden disablity.”
Ms Kennedy said it would inspire a lot of people affected by autism if they could cheer on athletes with the condition.
At the moment, elite athletes with what is classed as an “intellectual disability” can take part in sports such as athletics and swimming.
The category was only re-introduced in 2009. It was banned following controversy at the Sydney Paralympics in 2000, when the Spanish basketball team were stripped of their gold medal after it was discovered that not all players had a learning disability.
The chief executive of UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability has pledged to have further discussions with Ms Kennedy, who has said she will keep up her campaign for autism and Aspergers to be better recognised at the Games.