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
You've won the Women's Ballon d'Or
You dribble, tackle, shoot and score
But do you twerk?
You strike a hard and well-aimed ball
Around a wide defensive wall
But do you twerk?
Top scorer in the Champions League
But one thing fills me with intrigue:
Do you twerk?
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?
This is the speech I gave at the fringe meeting at Labour Party conference on 25 September 2018 about the draft Labour Party Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto.
A lot has happened since I said to John McDonnell at a book launch two-and-a-half years ago that it would be a good idea for the Labour Party to have a specific manifesto on autism and neurodiversity.
In July, I spoke at an event organised by Islington Labour Party women’s forum, called ‘Keeping women and girls safe in Islington’. There were various speakers from community organisations, the council and the police, plus workshops on domestic abuse, sexual harassment, hate crime, gangs and bullying. My job was to speak about harassment and violence against women on public transport.
Seem odd because they can't see
The trees for the wood
I sent this letter to the organisers of The Autism Shows, with over 100 supporting names, in June 2018.