Black Lives Matter
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a wave of protests following the tragic death of George Floyd in the United States, calling for an end to police brutality and a stop to racism in all forms. At the National Autistic Society, we’ve been thinking about our own role in tackling this very important issue.

We recognise that until society works for Black autistic people, we won’t have succeeded. So here’s what we’re going to do:

  • Our new strategy: we are currently working on a new strategy for our charity, which is split into four parts: Schools and Children’s Services, Adult Social Care Services, National Services, and Corporate and Professional Services. Within each of these parts, we are committed to developing an Equality and Inclusion plan, so we can make sure we are doing the best we can for the Black, Asian and other ethnic minority (BAME) autistic people we support, for their families and for our BAME staff and volunteers. In order to be effective, these plans will acknowledge the different as well as the shared experiences of people from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups. As part of this work, we are forming a racial equality group of staff and volunteers to contribute to our thinking in this area and make sure that our new strategies are fully inclusive.
  • Our campaigning work: We know that much more needs to be done to create a society that works for autistic people from BAME backgrounds, and their families too. It’s vital that all governments in the UK identify where there is discrimination and say what actions they will take to end it. We’re calling for this to be included as a key action in the new national autism strategy in England, which is currently under review, and we’ll do the same in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Sharing diverse stories: We want to continue sharing more stories from BAME autistic people and their families, and highlighting their experiences of services and support. You can read our Stories From The spectrum here.
  • New BAME branches: We also want to think about what we can do now, before our new strategy is finalised. Thanks to newly secured funding, we are working on a series of new national branches. We have started talking to BAME autistic people and their families about how some of these branches could focus on particular demographic groups. We will only do this if people tell us that it would help. 

Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive at the National Autistic Society said, “The worldwide protests against police brutality and racism have made us all take stock of our own roles, and what we can do better as individuals and a charity. We wanted to take time to reflect on this and begin discussions with some of our own staff, volunteers and experts in this area before we speak out about what we want to do.

“As a charity, we unequivocally stand against racism and any type of discrimination. We know we need to do more to make society work for autistic people from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds.

“Black, Asian and other minority autistic people face extra challenges. A failure to acknowledge and understand their experience can lead to problems getting an early diagnosis and the education and social care they need.

“We are working on a new organisational strategy and we are considering as part of that how we can do better – so that our schools, social care, information, peer support and campaigning help to make society work for BAME autistic children and adults.”

Tell us your story

Please get in touch with stories@nas.org.uk if you want to share your experiences, or ideas about what we should do in this area.