I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here...
I am not normally someone who watches many of these types of TV shows, but this year having seen the line-up I wanted to see how the Celebrities would get on, and in particular Anne Hegerty.
Anne Hegerty has spoken about being diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 46, and on Loose Women recently explained about how the diagnosis had helped her to make sense of things. As with any interview or discussion, people will have different views, and as I will always try and say, Anne’s perspective on autism is exactly that, her own personal view, and nobody else’s. But it certainly did start conversations.
As did Anne when she spoke with her fellow campmates earlier this week, to the extent that the National Autistic Society website broke due to the amount of hits it was getting. Reaction in general across social media and the show itself gave a range of opinions, and in particular these comments I thought were interesting.
"I didn't raise the Autism issue. It's not like: 'I want you to know I have this interesting disability that you have to accommodate'," Anne explained."If someone else raises it then I make it quite clear that I'm happy to talk about it."
Eleven-year-old Joseph is one of the people who's been inspired by Anne.
"Watching you makes me see that other people can have autism too and maybe I can have a cool job like you when I am older," he wrote in letter posted to Twitter.
One thing is for sure in my opinion Anne is being incredibly brave to even go into the Jungle and will be struggling with a range of different factors, but hopefully through starting discussions it is an opportunity for more people to listen to the views of autistic people. For some the thought of a bush-tucker trial is their idea of their “worst nightmare”, and for some Autistic people the thought of a job interview will be their own worst nightmare. In this case it is important to look at changes which can be made to the environment and/or process to ensure that people are allowed to demonstrate their ability.
We have met with many Autistic individuals to listen to their views about what would help them to access and maintain employment and are then supporting employers to make these changes. In the last weeks we have seen our first clients take up voluntary work and also paid part time employment and are building relationships with a range of employers who want to recognise the skills that individuals possess.
We believe that with small changes the workplace can become so much more accessible to people who want to work. From my experience the majority of autistic people do not want charity, they want opportunity. Work with us to help a create spectrum of opportunities which will benefit all of those involved.