Letter - Support this autism campaign

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I WANT to encourage our MP to support the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Undiscovered Workforce campaign to help adults with autism into employment.

The campaign is calling upon MPs across the UK to work together with local authority services, as well as local businesses and employment providers to improve job opportunities for people with autism in their own constituencies.

For many, employment is a crucial factor in living a happy and independent life. However, NAS research indicates that only 15% of adults with autism are in full-time employment, despite the fact that 79% of those claiming out-of-work benefits told us they want to work. Research with university leavers has shown that 26% of graduates with autism are unemployed, by far the highest rate of any disability group. One in 100 people living in [area] has autism and it is therefore vital that more is done locally to support these adults into work.

With the right support, people with autism can overcome the barriers to work that they often face. I hope the local MP will agree to work with other organisations in our constituency so that adults with autism living in the area have access to the same employment opportunities as others.

I was diagnosed late in my education in my first year of university at 19 years old.

Due to this I had been having difficulty communicating my understanding effectively and my marks suffered because higher education tends to lack the structure I needed to excel as I had.

University began to undermine my confidence in my abilities and system errors everyone else accepted seemed too much for me.

I am now about to attempt to begin my career with my degree but I fear that my Asperger’s, something which I had always thought provided me with many skills others do not possess, may now keep me from getting the opportunity to use these skills.

My fear and inability to understand inefficient systems and everyone else’s acceptance of them as if they were immutable & infallible eventually caused me to have a nervous breakdown resulting in my admittance to the Trinity 2 Psychiatric Ward at Fieldhead Hospital Wakefield this June.

I’ve managed to pull myself back together and am now looking into support initiatives like this one to help me use my unique skills for the benefit of future employers.

Stuart Atkinson

Bond Street, Pontefract