Mover: Katharine Macey.
Summation: Janey Little.
Motion as passed by conference
Conference notes that:
- Autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people in the UK.
- The National Autistic Society found that 80% of autistic people wish they had more information about laws around autistic individuals.
- Currently every autistic person has the right to a needs assessment under the Autism Act 2009, completed by an assessor with the skills, competency and knowledge of autism sufficient to undertake that assessment - however this is not always accessible for individuals.
- Only 8% of autistic people and 5% of family members felt that health and care services had improved since the Autism Act.
- Only 16% of diagnosed autistic individuals are in full time employment and 32% in part time employment, but many adults remain undiagnosed due to unnecessary hurdles in the assessment system.
- 77% of unemployed diagnosed autistic individuals want to work.
- Misdiagnosis of autistic individuals is far too common - especially in ethnic minorities, women, girls and non-binary individuals.
- Due to social misunderstandings, autistic individuals can unknowingly end up on the wrong side of the law - 4.5% of young offenders in Feltham have a diagnosis.
- Autistic people are up to seven times more likely than the general population to be involved in the criminal justice system.
- Autistic people and their families may be eligible for a Blue Badge to access disabled parking spaces.
- Autistic individuals are included in many invisible disability campaigns including the London 'Please offer me a seat' campaign.
Conference believes that:
- Every individual should be able to achieve their potential - neurodivergent or neurotypical.
- Autistic and other neurodivergent individuals not only are equal workers but can provide unique perspectives and be a substantial addition to the workplace.
- A diagnosis should not be a label, it is a tool there to support individuals in getting the help needed.
Conference resolves that:
- Guidance on employment must be updated to ensure the Equality Act 2010 is fulfilled and employers can support autistic individuals in their employment.
- Education about neurodivergence should be included on the curriculum in the same way mental health is currently.
- Diagnosis must be made more accessible, by stopping gatekeeping and reducing steps required for diagnosis to be official in NHS terms.
- Wait lists for diagnosis must be reduced by increasing funding and space for diagnosis.
- Autistic women, girls, non-binary individuals and ethnic minorities must have equal access to support and diagnosis.
- There should be increased training for teachers to acknowledge neurodiverse individuals, to both recognise behaviour and support different styles of learning.
- There should be further improvements to the Autism Act 2009, to create obligations on employers and local authorities to support autistic people with their care assessments.
- Autistic offenders should be met with support and not punishment when the crime is non-violent.
- Sensory spaces should be provided for autistic individuals engaging with the justice system - whether as complainants or defendants or witnesses or staff.
- Autism must not be represented as decreasing quality of life.
Applicability: England only; except 1. (lines 37-39), which is Federal; and 8. and 9. (lines 55-59), which are England and Wales.