Meeting with Labour MPs & the Labour Party Autism Neurodiversity Manifesto Steering Group on 22nd January 2019

Labour MPs (including John McDonnell, Thelma Walker, Ian Austin and Emma Lewell-Buck) met with the Steering Group on 22nd January 2019 in discussions to forward the Manifesto.

Many thanks indeed to all who contacted their own Labour MP, asking them to attend / view the Manifesto & its Appendix on ABA, using the information below:

Background

We are writing to you to give background information and to update you with progress – and, importantly, to ask you to further support this crucial work.

In April 2016, two neurodivergent activists, Monique Craine and Janine Booth, proposed to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, that the Labour Party draft an Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto and take steps to appoint a Shadow Minister for Neurodiversity. John agreed, and asked Monique and Janine to put together a Steering Group of neurodivergent people of all ages, background and neurotypes to oversee the drafting of this manifesto.

Since then, thousands of autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and otherwise neurodivergent people, our allies and labour movement activists have supported the development of a Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto.

From all of us in the Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto Steering Group, we would like to thank everybody who has helped us in creating and spreading the word about this manifesto.

This is an historic moment: the Labour Party is the first major political party to have drawn up a Neurodiversity Manifesto; and also the first to directly consult neurodivergent people and organisations in order to set its policies.

With your help, the Labour Party could be the first political party to adopt this manifesto as policy, which would be a major step in advancing the rights of neurodivergent people.

By helping us, you can make history.

Since 2016 we have undertaken many activities. Here is a summary:

We have assisted with raising this issue in the General Election 2017. This resulted in an historic first for a major political party as the Labour Party Manifesto promised to use the social model, work towards an ‘autism-friendly’ society and promote neurodiversity in the workplace and elsewhere. We have consulted trades unions, Constituency Labour Parties and branches, neurodivergent people and organisations on the drafts of the LPAND Manifesto

We have set up a website (www.neurodiversitymanifesto.com) and a public Facebook page, ‘Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto’, which now has over 1,200 followers.

We have reached out to campaigners, students, neurodivergent researchers and academics across the UK and beyond, given talks to organisations, conferences and trade unions.

We have included sessions about the LPAND Manifesto in trade union courses about neurodiversity, and input ideas generated by these into the document

We have hosted a Fringe meeting at each Labour Party Party Conference since 2016 – firstly, in 2016, to launch the first draft LPAND Manifesto; in 2017 to engage Labour and the neurodivergent community with the Manifesto principles and ideas for the future; and this year, 2018, when we brought the final version to delegates and where John McDonnell committed the next Labour Government to implementing the Manifesto principles. (video clips on our website)

We have commissioned and adopted an Appendix on Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), two ‘therapies’ that many neurodivergent people believe to be harmful and abusive

We have undertaken preparatory work ready to establish ‘Neurodivergent Labour’ – a new, democratic organisation for neurodivergent Labour Party members – on 9th February 2019.

We have produced the final Labour Party Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto and, in November 2018, formally presented this Manifesto to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.

What now:

John McDonnell will host a briefing event for Labour MPs, at which Steering Group members will explain the LPAND manifesto and answer questions.

This will be followed by further discussions with Shadow Cabinet members about policy details.

Consideration will be given to the appointment of a Shadow Neurodiversity Minister.

The Steering Group are planning and convening the launch of ‘Neurodivergent Labour’ on 9th February 2019 https://www.facebook.com/events/2232294323722636/ 

What we are asking you to do:

We need as many Labour MPs as possible to attend the Labour Party’s Briefing Event about its Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto on 22nd January 2019, 5.00pm – 6.00pm in the NSCR, Houses of Parliament.

Please invite your Labour MP to attend this briefing.

(If you don’t know who your MP is, please go to http://www.theyworkforyou.com and enter your postcode)

A template letter is provided below for your use.

Nothing about us without us,

The Labour Party Autism/Neurodiversity Manifesto Steering Group

—————————————————-

Template letter for writing to MPs

[Your name & address]

[MP’s name]

[Date]

Dear [MP’s name],

I am writing to ask you to attend the Labour Party’s briefing event about its Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto on Tuesday 22nd January in the NSCR, Houses of Parliament at 5.00pm – 6.00pm.

The Manifesto is the result of a two-year consultation process convened by a steering group comprised of neurodivergent people (who are autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, ADHD / and with other atypical neurological developmental conditions), who are trade unionists, Labour Party members, academics, students and others. This process has produced a set of radical and inspiring policies which if implemented, will transform and improve the quality of life for all neurodivergent people.

Millions of people in the UK are either neurodivergent or close to someone who is. But neurodivergent people experience systematic discrimination and their* needs are neglected. When neurodivergent people are discussed, it is often other people talking about them*, rather than their* own voices being heard.

The Labour Party is the first major political party in the UK to directly involve neurodivergent people in drawing up a Neurodiversity Manifesto. This is an exciting development which I and many other Labour Party members and your constituents would like you to actively support.

By attending the briefing event, you can find out more about this, ask any questions that you may have, and show your support.

[If you wish, add your own question which you would like asked and/or personal reasons why this is important to you here.]

You can read the Manifesto and Appendix by clicking on this link: https://neurodiversitymanifesto.com/2018/09/18/labour-party-autism-neurodiversity-manifesto-final-draft-version-2018/

Best wishes,

[Your name]

* Please feel free to use us/our rather than them/their if you are neurodivergent.

Thank you 🙂

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