Campaigners in Westminster 

Since the Autism Act 2009, autism as an issue has risen dramatically up the political agenda. During the recent General Election campaign, autism featured in both the Conservative and Labour manifestos, while The Liberal Democrats published a separate plan alongside their manifesto on how they would improve support for autistic people, those with a learning disability and those with mental health problems.

The Conservative manifesto recommitted the party to working on getting an extra million disabled people into work and since the launch of our report in October 2016 on autism and employment The Autism Employment Gap, Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt (pictured above with chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism Cheryl Gillan MP and The National Autistic Society campaigners) has been keen to work with us on improving support for autistic adults in work. Meanwhile, The Labour Party specifically mentioned working with employers and trade unions to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace.

As providing more support for disabled people to find and stay in work has cross-party support, it seems likely that despite the hung Parliament, work in this area will be able to progress (although we are keeping a close eye on it).

With disability and autism in the workplace particular receiving a higher profile in recent years, requests for employers to become more autism-friendly are likely to rise. The National Autistic Society already offers accreditation to employers wishing to become autism-friendly and trade union representatives who have experienced requests from their autistic members for assistance can anticipate more calls for such help.

Those trade union representatives who have assisted autistic colleagues will already know that most of the difficulties encountered by autistic colleagues in the workplace can easily be adjusted for, but for those so far unacquainted with the issues and who wish to gain a basic understanding of autism in the workplace, The National Autistic Society can help in various ways.

If you would like advice on autism in the workplace, please contact training.enquiries@nas.org.uk.