Today, I was a panellist at at evidence session organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, discussing autism and employment. There were several ‘witnesses’, mostly employers and representatives of charities. Some were autistic, some not.
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. Autistic people 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.
This is an article about this image.
This is not an article about how this image is ‘offensive’. That wouldn’t need an article; it’s pretty much self-evident to anyone who considers the feelings of others.
I rise to call my first dead witness
Counsel may contest his fitness
for his part to testify
to tell you how he came to die
He leads a host of souls to tell
their stories from a bitter well
of negligence and ignorance
of culpable indifference
An inquest has been held for each
but now this hearing must impeach
the system which we'll hear has let them
Teen sneaks out for a late-night flick
eighteen-rated, knows the tricks
Make-up makes you older, see -
facial hair and fake ID
But teenage Ethan -
He sneaks out for a different reason
Teen snuck out to a punk rock gig
armed with safety pins and cigs
Slipped out the back to an all-night rave
Es and whizz and misbehaves
Since autistic activist Judy Singer coined the term ‘neurodiversity’ some twenty years ago, it has facilitated a great enlightenment and a progressive new approach to the experiences and rights of autistic and other neurologically atypical people.
Ever wondered why only 16% of autistic adults have a full-time job?
He worked alone, not a team player
Not a keeper or a stayer
Didn’t fit in, not really our sort
Talked about boring stuff not sport
We had to let him go
by PCS rep, Helen Sheridan
Never give a trade unionist a platform if you want to get away on time. I hope you're all sitting comfortably. For anyone who cares about these things, my name is Helen Sheridan and I am a trade union representative with the Public and Commercial Services Union. I have served on the Executive Committee for my branch for almost ten years, as well as on various sub-committees within the branch. I'm also Autistic.
As you've probably noticed, awareness of neurodiversity has increased dramatically over the past few years, with high profile campaigns from groups like the National Autistic Society, increased representation in film and television, such as The A Word, and the rise of social media giving a platform to Autistic people themselves. Self Advocacy groups have gained more control over the conversation being had about Autism and are steering it to the areas that matter to Autistic people.
You sit me on a chair that hurts
In a classroom full of noise and light
You put a pen in my wrong hand
And tell me that I have to write
You speak in terms that don't make sense
You write in symbols I can't see
You talk to everyone at once
You talk to everyone but me
Autistic, dyspraxic, dyslexic and other people with atypical brain wiring have particular experiences under capitalism. These experiences have positive and negative aspects, and for many people include distress and disadvantage. What are the roots and the causes of this experience? Can we develop the positives while removing the disadvantages? Can we resolve the negatives by tweaking the current system?