This post comes from a tweet by shadow chancellor John McDonnell:
I am supporting call for Labour to develop an Autism Manifesto and appoint a Shadow Minister for Neurodiversity & will consult on details.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) May 13, 2016
It will not surprise anyone that I am in full agreement with Mr McDonnell about the excellence of the ideas mentioned above. While I have a few ideas as what an Autism Manifesto should prioritise, most notably doing something about the shameful statistics relating to Autistic people and employment in this country. 75% of all adults on the autistic spectrum in this country are unemployed, while good portion of those in employment are in low paid and/ or part time work – 85% of us are classed as ‘underemployed’.
More important however than the precise details of the Autism Manifesto (at least to me) is the question of who will be involved in creating it. While I am not arguing for the exclusion of neurotypicals from this process (never in a million years) I do repeat the autistic person’s mantra:
“NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US”
We must be involved in this process, and I conclude this section by saying to Mr McDonnell: if you are prepared to involve people from outside your party you are welcome to contact me.
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NEURODIVERSITY
Again, an excellent idea. For similar reasons to those mentioned above in connection with the idea of an Autism Manifesto I would prefer if possible the the holder of this post be someone who is themselves neurodiverse. Other than that I have no further comments to make as yet, although you can expect me to revisit the themes of this brief post in future.