Autism

Autistic people face discrimination and prejudice in a society which expects us to understand and fit in with social rules that are not of our making. People with autism are also part of the disabled people's fightback. This section includes my work providing 'Autism in the workplace' training and information for trade union representatives, plus campaign news, and personal and political observations.

Introducing the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace

About the author

Janine Booth, is a member of the TUC Disabled Workers Committee and the committee of Autistic-UK. She is a former member of the national Council of Executives of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT). Janine runs Autism in the Workplace training events with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA). You can contact Janine by emailing j.booth@rmt.org.uk

Autism: Myths and facts

From the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace

Beware of stereotypes; they can overlook people’s individuality, and lead to mocking and bullying.

‘Autism is one of those trendy ‘conditions’ that everyone seems to have these days.’
This is a commonly-heard view, but an inaccurate prejudice which undermines the very real experiences of people with autism and their friends and families.

How workplaces can create difficulties for autistic workers

From the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace

Workplaces and employers make work difficult for autistic workers for the following reasons:

Discrimination: Treating the autistic worker differently from, less favourably than, others.

Bullying by management, including ridicule and physical/ verbal abuse.

Lack of communication and support.

How workplaces can create difficulties for workers with autistic dependants

From the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace

Refusal of time off: An employer may refuse a request for time off, for example a career break or a period of leave to adjust and make arrangements when a
dependant is diagnosed with autism.

Childcare: Few employers provide workplace childcare; of those that do, few provide care suitable for autistic children.

Nothing about autistic people without autistic people

From the TUC handbook, Autism in the Workplace

The trade union movement supports the demand of the disabled people’s movement: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’.

Many trade unions have structures for disabled members; if so, it may be useful to invite and welcome autistic members’ involvement in these.

There are organisations of autistic people, and trade unionists may benefit from their expertise.

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