Mark Lever joined the National Autistic Society (NAS) as Chief Executive in March 2008.
The NAS is the UK's leading organisation for people affected by autism. The NAS runs 8 independent autism specific schools and delivers thousands of packages of community based support for autistic adults.
The NAS is a highly effective campaigning organisation and champions the rights and interests of all people on the autism spectrum. It aims to provide individuals on the spectrum and their families with the help, support and services that they can access, trust and rely upon and which can help them lead the life they choose.
Mark is a member of the National Autism Programme Board which oversees the implementation of the strategy for adults with autism.
Prior to the NAS he worked for 12 years at the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS), holding a range of roles, including, Director of Strategic Development and Operations and then CEO. He was previously a partner at accountancy firm Kidsons (now Baker Tilly). He is a Cranfield MBA, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Chartered Institutes of Personnel and development, and Marketing.
When he is not negotiating peace settlements and behaviour related pay awards with his four boys he relaxes by cooking, drinking wine with his wife, long distance cycling, running a disco for charity and regularly losing at tennis and golf.
I've been at The National Autistic Society (NAS) for over eight years now and I'm still taken aback when I hear just how difficult it is to get a diagnosis - the days, months and years of pain and distress families have to go through just to understand who they are and to have a chance of getting support.
The Chancellor has a simple choice to make on Wednesday. He can risk writing off generations of autistic people and their families by cutting crucial services across social care, disability benefits and disabled children's services. Or he can show leadership and keep the Conservatives' pledge to be family friendly and protect the vulnerable.
Bringing in waiting times for autism assessments would be a huge step forward for the 1 in 100 people on the autism spectrum in the UK. And it is achievable, even in an age of austerity. In fact, it is all the more necessary as the NHS tries to make savings.
David Cameron has spoken of his belief in a 'compassionate nation' - one that protects the most vulnerable. If his Government is serious about this, they need to make sure that they protect all disability benefits and housing benefit for younger disabled people. Only then will people on the autism spectrum receive the support they need to live independent and fulfilling lives.
07/07/2015 11:32 BST
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