Making Autism a Priority

Almost £75 million is being invested by the UK Government into a national strategy to improve understanding and acceptance of autism.

One of the priorities is to help more autistic people re-enter the workplace, increase support for those currently employed and to offer better resources for employers.

The five-year plan will involve national and local governments, the NHS and the voluntary sector.

The Disability Confident Scheme will promote the skills and abilities of autistic people in the workplace and offer resources to employers to help them support their staff. Autism-friendly public transport is also being developed. You can read the report here:

Attend our upcoming neurodiversity events at the INCLUSION 2021 online festival, 19-21 October 2021

1. Dame Stephanie Shirley keynote on Autistica

Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley is a true workplace revolutionary, having founded a software firm in the 1960s, challenging sexual discrimination, employment law and social convention, and pioneering flexible work options for women. Dame Stephanie, who founded Autistica – Diversity Network’s lead charity partner for INCLUSION 2021 – is now a venture philanthropist, devoting her time to supporting strategic projects in the field of autism. 

Dame Stephanie Shirley is the founder of Autistica, and has devoted her time to support strategic projects in the field of autism.

Dame Stephanie will open the global online festival INCLUSION 2021 on Tuesday 19 October, with an address entitled ‘Revolutionising the Workplace’.

In this inspirational opening keynote, Dame Stephanie will share:

  • How she drove revolutionary workplace change that has helped thousands of women to have successful careers
  • Her views on how society is regressing as women bear the economic brunt of the pandemic – despite advancement of workplace practices and the rise in homeworking
  • How we can address this and what still needs to be done to reach true equality

2. How Neurodivergent Employees Can Boost Your Company’s Productivity

  • The types of neurodiversity that may exist within your workforce and their characteristics, for example ADHD, autism and dyslexia 
  • How being aware of the strengths and challenges of the various conditions can help you better support a neurodiverse workforce
  • How can hiring and investing in neurodiverse individuals improve your business? Statistics show that neurodiverse people are 30% to 50% more productive than other employees
  • Learn how your entire workplace will benefit from inclusive practices

3. Panel Discussion: How Can We Support Role Models?

  • Why are there so few visible role models, particularly at senior levels?
  • How important are role models in creating more inclusive working environments, and are there ways in which we can encourage more visibility of role models?
  • ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ – is the lack of role models having an impact on talented individuals not progressing to senior positions?
  • What can we do to ensure that diverse talent can see they can progress and succeed at the most senior levels?


Michael Vermeersch, Digital Inclusion Lead & Chair, UK Disability ERG, Microsoft

Sarah Fennell, Head of D&I and Pride ally, Macquarie

Jen Smith, Head of Inclusion, British Film Institute

To claim your ticket to attend INCLUSION 2021 on 19-21 October 2021, register here:

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