Why Neurodiversity Works for Creativity won the WPP Atticus Award 2020 in the Creativity with Purpose category. You can read a exerpt here.

Amy Walker is an autistic, dyslexic and dyspraxic inclusion and diversity professional and speaker. She started the campaign Neurodiversity Works in 2018 after benefitting from Ambitious about Autism’s Employ Autism internship programme. Find out more about her at AmyAspie.com

An image of a person in a wheelchair talking at interview, and a lady wearing a burka writing on a wall
An image of a person in a wheelchair talking at interview, and a lady wearing a burka writing on a wall

We know creativity works. We know innovation works. We know that purpose works. In this essay, I will demonstrate that neurodiversity works, for creativity, innovation, purpose — and for everyone.

In Why Should Anyone Work Here?, by Rob…

I dropped out of school due my autism, mental health conditions and difficulties with friendships and bullying in year eight — and have been playing catch up ever since.

Amy Walker is an Autistic advocate and founder of the Neurodiversity Works campaign

Originally published in the Huffington Post

Around 700,000 people in the UK are autistic and yet just 16% of autistic adults are in full time paid employment. Every year this employment gap costs the UK economy millions of pounds — and beneath this lies so many personal stories of frustration and wasted potential.

There are many barriers preventing young autistic people from accessing the world of work — from careers advice that isn’t up to scratch, to rigid interview processes and inflexible working practices of some organisations.

Amy Walker is a neurodiverse, autistic, dyslexic and dyspraxic campaigner, who has been on the Scope for Change campaign training programme since 2018. In this article, she describes the programme’s graduation ceremony and the campaigns that were talked about during the event.

On the 14th of February, the #ScopeforChange campaigners graduated at an event at Portcullis House, part of the parliamentary estate 😳

It’s always been a dream of mine to visit the parliamentary estate — especially Portcullis House, with it’s atrium which can be viewed from the first floor, which is open to the public to attend committee meetings…

This time last year, if you had told me that I would be speaking publicly on a regular basis, frankly I would not have believed you.

Raisa Hassan and I (..and Thinky, the Mindful Monster) at the Scope AGM in Stratford

I had just finished a two week Autism Exchange internship in the Civil Service, which had filled me with hope and helped to prepare me for work. But I was still unemployed, still finding it hard to juggle graduate scheme and job applications with meeting my own basic needs, and struggling to cope with the demands of my family relationships.

In fact, exactly a year ago, I attended an event with Employ Ability at the Financial Conduct Authority. I arrived at Canary Wharf and looked up at the sky scrapers around me… What was I doing here?!

I was among…

Yesterday I spoke at A New Direction’s event, Partnerships, Co-production and Compromise. I shared my experience as a young creative, finding my way through an educational system that was inaccessible to an autistic person from a challenging background, and the help I’ve had from Create Jobs, Balance CIC, Ambitious about Autism, Autistica, The Prince’s’ Trust, Hillcroft College, Scope and Time to Change in accessing opportunities to thrive.

This time a few years ago, my life was looking very bleak. I had been on Employment Support Allowance (ESA), and had found the experience dehumanising. Jumping through the hoops of the welfare system, without any reasonable adjustments for my disabilities and mental health conditions, left me lacking in confidence. How could this be, when I had recently graduated from my degree with a first and an academic award, despite dropping out of secondary school with no qualifications?

Surely this time should have seen me at the peak of my confidence. I had my whole life ahead of me.


Discussions with the campaigners at the introduction Scope for Change event

A few months ago I was honoured to find out I had been chosen as a #ScopeForChange campaigner. I had been having a tough few months, not getting far with job applications and suddenly a bunch of opportunities arrived at once: the three month internship at m/SIX through the Autism Exchange scheme, and the Scope opportunity. I was thrilled!

#ScopeForChange is a 6 month programme to train and support young disabled people in campaigning. It has been going on since 2015, and I heard about it through the Ambitious about Autism Youth Network. Jack Welch, a fellow Ambitious network member…

Album cover for ye by Kanye West, released June 1st

You would have to go far to find someone who hasn’t heard about Kanye West’s recent antics. A flurry of tweets over the past few months created a furore bigger than any Kanye has experienced in the past.

On previous album rollouts we’ve seen what some people have described as “arrogant” or “attention seeking” behaviour. Some of those people put it down to a marketing strategy, others to Kanye’s uncontrollable self indulgence. But as soon as the music comes, the antipathy gives way to a common agreement: Kanye makes excellent music. He is a genius.

Something different happened this time…

Originally published in edited form on the Civil Service Blog for World Autism Awareness Week 2018

Autistic people have ‘special interests’: subjects about which they are passionate and knowledgeable. My special interest is current affairs and policy, and so when I saw that Ambitious about Autism’s Autism Exchange programme was running a placement in the Civil Service, I jumped at the chance!

At this point I was working voluntarily building a start-up micro record label with my partner, after graduating with a first class photography degree in 2015. I was responsible for marketing and social media management, which I had taught myself after finding it difficult to gain full-time employment.

I applied for the Civil Service…

Originally published in edited form on the Ambitious About Autism blog for World Autism Awareness Week 2018

Little Amy, before diagnosis.

My name is Amy, and I am a female on the Autistic spectrum.

My parents began suspecting I was different early on. I learned everything about certain subjects, but I wasn’t that interested in playing with dolls or other children. When I did play, I would act like a director, telling the children what to pretend to be, and pointing out unrealistic scenarios. This could upset the other children, but I didn’t understand why, and so I would get angry or refuse to play.

I liked school, but when the class did not interest me I would do what I…

My time on the Autism Exchange Civil Service Internship: Enjoyable, Enlightening, Enabling and Emboldening.

Originally published at the Ambitious about Autism blog in November 2017

Autistic people tend to have ‘special interests’: subjects about which they are passionate and knowledgeable. Well, my special interest is public affairs and policy, and so when I saw that Ambitious about Autism’s Autism Exchange programme would be hosting a placement in the Civil Service, I jumped at the chance!

Up until this point I hadn’t engaged with Ambitious’ services or looked at the Autism Exchange, and was self-employed working on building a start-up micro record label: working on marketing and social media management after completing my photography degree a couple of years ago.

You may wonder how someone with…

Amy Walker Writes

Neurodivergent campaigner writing about life on the spectrum www.amyaspie.com / www.linkedin.com/in/amywalkerphoto/ / www.neurodiversityworks.uk

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