Launching ASD Liberal Democrats

Autism Awareness Ribbon, Colorful Puzzle Pieces,  Free Creative Commons Public Domain DownloadFollowing on from my article a couple of weeks ago, Autism – Challenges on entering the workplace,  I have had several members contact me regarding  difficulties that they faced within the party and expressing a desire that there should be a support network for themselves and for Local Parties and Council groups, in order for people to remain as effective local Councillors.

As a result I am pleased to announce that ASD Lib Dems has been created to help serve the Autistic community both within the party and to the wider ASD Community.

The organisation will have three clear aims. Firstly we hope to educate the wider party and public on the challenges that people who are on the spectrum may have in a very social profession such as ours- such as difficulties in communicating and socialising. Many on the spectrum report being accused of being extremely difficult to talk to, perhaps something my friends can relate to! This can negatively impact on their engagement in the party, and we hope to provide support and education to all concerned to stop that from happening.

Secondly, we will campaign on issues affecting the Autism community, ranging from social care to education and employment. It is vital the Autistic voice is heard by the policymakers, including politicians at a national level and those who serve on local councils.

Finally, the group will mentor people on the spectrum who are standing for elected office and work with local parties and council groups to help both parties to understand each others’ perspective . This will enable those who are on the spectrum to participate in normal council group activities and to prevent confusion or misunderstanding.

We aim to attract a wide range of membership not just those with “official” diagnoses but those who have “self-diagnosed” themselves on the spectrum. We also welcome those who are non-autistic (or neurotypical) but have an interest in the issue, perhaps by being caregivers to children with ASD.

Should you wish to join us please could you email at [email protected] and I will put you on our email list.

 

Autistics Awareness ribbon image by Beverly & Pack

* Matt Casey is the Chair of ASD Lib Dems and a Liberal Democrat activist on the Bexley/Bromley border.

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7 Comments

  • Morgan Inwood 7th Jul '14 - 8:48pm

    As someone with an official diagnosis of Aspergers and a Party member it is good to see the issue being raised within the Party. I don’t like banging on about my AS but now and again I do.

    Support or the lack of is an issue which is identified and now that the debate is raised, we should now be debating on how the Party supports those members with an ASD.

    George mentions the LDDA, I know of them but do not know what they do. I do not see myself having a disability and I refuse to tick the disability questions on application forms so that is a reason why I know hardly little about the LDDA. If a new group is being formed within the Party, isn’t there an official process to follow?

    I am happy to be involved in this

  • Thanks for the comments on this article and my previous one.

    George, I appreciate your concern in regards to the LDDA. Despite being a follower of their work I have not been impressed nor do I actually feel disabled similarly to Morgan’s comment.. I am very happy for you to contact me further via the email address or Facebook.

    I argee that a lack of a dedicated is frustrating however that will be coming along in due course.

    Morgan, there is a offical process to follow and I am delighted to hear that you have chosen to get involved.

  • Gwyn Williams 8th Jul '14 - 11:41am

    I am not ASD but my son is. He totally rejects the label disabled.
    When he was first diagnosed, I was asked by a clinical psychologist what I understood by the word Autism. I realised it was not a mental illness and described it as a mental handicap. The psychologist corrected me that Autism is a developmental disorder not a disability. It may be combined with mental handicap and mental illness can develop but they are not a given.
    The psychologist suggested that I join the local NAS. I found the meetings draining. Looking after one child with ASD was exhausting but listening to a group many of whom were ASD was very difficult.
    I believe that many people with ASD can join the mainstream but first they have to accept that their perception of the world is not that of others.
    There is a role for a group in explaining the problems ofASD people to politicians and mentoring ASD individuals with a view to them playing a positive role in the mainstream Party.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 8th Jul '14 - 4:03pm

    Lib Dems should support all minorities – anyway Lib Dems are also a minority and speeding down to an even smaller one as some people pursue the love-in with Tories. So lets hope there are many cool people in our country who will support all minorities – just as 80% say they support LGBT people – hooray for that too.

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