My eldest son, Theo, is autistic. He has just turned 18 and, a year ago, we were all gloomily contemplating the statistic that only 16 per cent of autistic people are in paid employment. We’re not talking here about the small minority of autistic people who are non-verbal and require care, but the much larger group – one in a hundred of the population – who have unique thinking skills that could provide so much to employers and co-workers.
Thankfully, Theo was given a chance through the work of Ambitious About Autism, who arranged a literally life-changing internship for him at the Department of Transport. Theo’s three weeks working there showed him that he really could fit in to a work environment, bringing to it his own particular abilities, and following that internship he was able to secure a transport planning apprenticeship with Hounslow Council. As part of the work of Ambitious About Autism, Theo has appeared in the short film they made as part of their campaign to persuade employers to give autistic people a chance, starring alongside the Channel 4 broadcaster Jon Snow. The video is below. I could not be more proud of him. Please watch and share.