A FORMER civil servant who grew up in Oldham and cares for his seven-year-old son who has severe autism is launching a campaign to help families like his.

Lutfur Ali, whose glittering career saw him meet The Royal Family, is urging people in Oldham to battle prejudice against people with autism.

The former Alexandra Park Primary School pupil has worked with ex cabinet ministers and has advised government on racially motivated crime.

His son cannot speak and does not eat properly due to having severe autism.

Lutfur, 55, is now planning “a dynamic neuro-diversity campaign”, starting it in his hometown Oldham.

He said: “My hometown has been a pioneer in everything from the first test tube baby to the inaugural Covid vaccine clinic for the homeless.

“It is also blessed with a superb sense of community and looks after those who are needy better than anywhere else, I have ever visited.”

Lutfur believes given the right opportunities, people with ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, and dyslexia will succeed and he wants companies to follow the example of silicon valley giants who create safe spaces for autistic employees.

He added: “Because they have special qualities, such an attention to detail and a strong sense of loyalty, they make great scientists and programmers."

Shopping centres which hold autism hours, where visitors can browse quietly, which is more comfortable for people with autism, a change that is welcomed by Lutfur.

Moving to Britain in the 1960s, Lutfur’s first house had seven bedrooms and an outside toilet shared by three houses.

His father served valiantly in the British Army in places like Burma before working at Knoll Mill in Lees.

The family often housed other workers free of charge, until they found their feet.

Lutfur returned to Oldham from London when working for Kirklees Council and says he has always kept the principles he learned in his community close to his heart.

He added: “I have set up charities and business networks within Oldham and always done my best to beat ignorance and bring people together.

“But my current challenge as a carer is the hardest of my life.

"Planning a day out and worrying about education and what kind of life my child will have when I am gone, are massive concerns.

"He is such a blessing though and has qualities others do not, he just thinks a little differently from the rest of us.”

Lutfur has called his campaign Autism Baba UK because fathers (“Baba” is Bengali for dad) in the British Asian community will be among the first to hear his message.

But he added: "Everyone else will be included, too.

"We can only create a neuro-diverse world by working together.”