Autism in the workplace

Writing, training, speaking, campaigning ...

Guest post: Autistic Workers and Trade Unions

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.

Neurodiversity under Capitalism and under Socialism

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?

Marxism and Autism: matters arising

Some notes from recent discussions on Marxism and autism (two meetings and some online exchanges):

  • There is a capitalist market in products aimed at autistic people and their families. These range from useful resources through to fake and even abusive 'treatments' and 'cures'. As well as commodifying autistic people's needs, this also exploits the fears felt by autistic people and particularly by parents of autistic kids.
  • The mass production brought about by capitalism has had the effect of 'standardising' human beings, pushing us into a narrowly-defined 'normal', in contrast with the more individual, craft-based systems of production that preceded it. On the other hand, mass production has brought major advances and increased living standards. Can socialism combine the advantages of mass production and a renewed scope for individuality and diversity?

Union blog - Autism: raising awareness and winning acceptance

I wrote this blog for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which published it on 3 April 2017.

At the start of Autism Awareness Month, campaigner Janine Booth says autistic people's involvement in our trade unions is essential to winning acceptance and raising awareness.

Do you have any autistic workmates? Perhaps you do. Perhaps you do but you don’t realise it. Perhaps you are autistic yourself. Maybe you have an autistic dependant – child or adult – or you know a workmate who does.

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