I'm Janine Booth. I'm autistic, and I write and deliver training courses to trade unionists and others about autism and neurodiversity. As part of the courses, we look at real-life case studies of neurodivergent workers' experiences. It is important to use up-to-date case studies, so I am interested in hearing your story.
Autism in the workplace
Writing, training, speaking, campaigning ...
There is an increasing number of companies which explicitly employ autistic people, promising to value their work and provide suitable working conditions. This has been widely welcomed.
But what are the experiences of autistic workers in these companies?
On this website, I will be hosting guest posts to give a platform to these workers and allow people to see behind the headlines.
The first is from V, in Paris.
Fatima’s autism makes her hypersensitive to bright lights, so she can’t work in our office, poor thing.
The bright lights in our office make Fatima distressed as she is autistic and unusually sensitive to light. She can work here if we turn them down.
On 27 May, I took part in a panel discussion at Autistic UK's 'The Future is Gold' event.
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.
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.
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?
Written for and published by TotalJobs.com, here.
Work can be an uphill climb for autistic people. Colleague support can smooth out the gradient and make it easier going, explains Janine Booth, co-chair of the TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee.