A road map to change in response to campaign for an Autism and Learning Disabilities Commissioner

We here at Triple A’s and the One Stop Shop Aberdeen believe that the current campaign for a joint Autism and Learning Disability Commissioner conflating the autistic and learning disability populations will have a detrimental effect on both communities.

As an autistic led organisation, we are working with other organisations and individuals to develop more workable, easier to implement and more cost-effective alternatives.

We have come up with four ideas that will be more effective in raising the voices of autistic people, in protecting our rights, and combating stigma. These ideas can be used either individually or in combination with each other.


1. Raise awareness of existing Commissioners

We believe work should be carried out to raise awareness on what the existing commissioners are and their role. What are the aspects of our lives that can benefit from the support of a commissioner? What kind of support can we expect?

2. Employ autism advisors within existing Commissions

Given that there are already commissioners, we think that each existing relevant Commission should include an, ideally autistic, advisor specialising in autistic knowledge. This idea has gained broad support from all those whom we have shared the proposals with. In addition to this, we also advocate for having autistic staff and interns working in each existing commissioner’s office. This sends a strong message that autistic people are capable and competent, that they are worth listening to and that there are autistic people across all sections of society.

3. Local Councils should involve autistic people to help implement their local autism strategies

We advocate for local councils to create forums of autistic people with relevant lived and professional experience allowing effective and timely use of best practice. They would perform multiple roles and be closely involved in the writing and implementation of their autism strategies. We supported Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership in the creation of the local Autism Strategy and have a member of staff on the Implementation Group. This has led to more consultation with the local autistic population than in other many areas, and we would want to see this expanded further across Scotland.

4. If the above are not effectual, a Commissioner for Neurodivergence

If there is willing to create a new commissioner’s office, then we would advocate for a commissioner for Neurodivergence. This broad commission would contain several separate offices including an office for autism, one for learning disability, but also offices for any other kind of neurodivergency such as ADHD or Tourette’s.


We will continue to talk with other autistic led organisations, non-autistic led organisations, professionals, and advocates to hear their suggestions. We are also open to discussing our alternative solutions with any MSP, politician, elected official, or civil servant who is interested in furthering autistic human rights.

Marion McLaughlin, One Stop Shop Aberdeen manager said:

‘While there is a clear need for change in ensuring that autistic human rights are met, we think that more engagement with autistic people locally and nationally is the way forward’.

Alastair Meek, Director of Triple A’s said:

“We all need to see change to very widespread problems. By building up knowledge and crucially, building up autistic agency, we can start building that change”.

Catherine Steedman, Autism Initiatives Scotland National Director Scotland said: ‘Given the concerns that have been voiced about having a joint LD and Autism Commissioner, we are pleased to see alternative proposals coming from the autistic community. We have discussed Triple A’s proposal with them, and are fully supportive of their ideas being explored further’.

For further information please contact us by email hello@triplea.uk.com.


A road map to change in response to campaign for an Autism and Learning Disabilities Commissioner

We here at Triple A’s and the One Stop Shop Aberdeen believe that the current campaign for a joint Autism and Learning Disability Commissioner conflating the autistic and learning disability populations will have a detrimental effect on both communities.

As an autistic led organisation, we are working with other organisations and individuals to develop more workable, easier to implement and more cost-effective alternatives.

We have come up with four ideas that will be more effective in raising the voices of autistic people, in protecting our rights, and combating stigma. These ideas can be used either individually or in combination with each other.


1. Raise awareness of existing Commissioners

We believe work should be carried out to raise awareness on what the existing commissioners are and their role. What are the aspects of our lives that can benefit from the support of a commissioner? What kind of support can we expect?

2. Employ autism advisors within existing Commissions

Given that there are already commissioners, we think that each existing relevant Commission should include an, ideally autistic, advisor specialising in autistic knowledge. This idea has gained broad support from all those whom we have shared the proposals with. In addition to this, we also advocate for having autistic staff and interns working in each existing commissioner’s office. This sends a strong message that autistic people are capable and competent, that they are worth listening to and that there are autistic people across all sections of society.

3. Local Councils should involve autistic people to help implement their local autism strategies

We advocate for local councils to create forums of autistic people with relevant lived and professional experience allowing effective and timely use of best practice. They would perform multiple roles and be closely involved in the writing and implementation of their autism strategies. We supported Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership in the creation of the local Autism Strategy and have a member of staff on the Implementation Group. This has led to more consultation with the local autistic population than in other many areas, and we would want to see this expanded further across Scotland.

4. If the above are not effectual, a Commissioner for Neurodivergence

If there is willing to create a new commissioner’s office, then we would advocate for a commissioner for Neurodivergence. This broad commission would contain several separate offices including an office for autism, one for learning disability, but also offices for any other kind of neurodivergency such as ADHD or Tourette’s.


We will continue to talk with other autistic led organisations, non-autistic led organisations, professionals, and advocates to hear their suggestions. We are also open to discussing our alternative solutions with any MSP, politician, elected official, or civil servant who is interested in furthering autistic human rights.


Marion McLaughlin, One Stop Shop Aberdeen manager said:

‘While there is a clear need for change in ensuring that autistic human rights are met, we think that more engagement with autistic people locally and nationally is the way forward’.


Alastair Meek, Director of Triple A’s said:

“We all need to see change to very widespread problems. By building up knowledge and crucially, building up autistic agency, we can start building that change”.


Catherine Steedman, Autism Initiatives Scotland National Director Scotland said:

 ‘Given the concerns that have been voiced about having a joint LD and Autism Commissioner, we are pleased to see alternative proposals coming from the autistic community. We have discussed Triple A’s proposal with them, and are fully supportive of their ideas being explored further’.


For further information please contact us by email hello@triplea.uk.com.


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