2 Oct 2008
NAS "I exist" campaign in NI
The UK autism charity, the NAS, has been running a series of campaigns aimed at improving the lives of autistic people and increasing people's understanding of the condition.
I exist, is a campaign specifically designed to highlight the needs and concerns of autistic adults, who are so often overlooked whenever autism is discussed in the mainstream media.
The campaign has been running for a while in England and claims some success. It will be launched in Northern Ireland later this month in an event at Parliament Buildings in Stormont. I received an invite to attend, though I'm not sure why. I will go. It'll be interesting to have a look inside the parliament building and to participate in this kind of mainstream charity campaigning, both for the first time ever. I hope that the majority of those present or represented will be autistic adults, rather than parents of young children like myself.
I have limited experience of greeting and interacting with those whose views I detest. Among the politicians hosting the event, is Mrs Iris Robinson, known for her homophobic views. I wonder if she also favours the discrimination of disabled people or only for gay people?
However I will be on my best behaviour, and have no idea how many people will be there and just who I will get a chance to talk with or whether it will be more of a sit down and listen to the speakers type of event.
Whatever happens, this NAS campaign is an important one and one I fully support. There's a real need for a campaign to improve life for autistic adults here.