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The cuts being made to benefits and the proposed assessments that will be carried out are a huge cause of concern to us - we believe they are immoral and cruel. Reasonable adjustments are not being made and people with autism face much discrimination as a result.
Only 15 per cent of adults with autism are in full time paid employment (Reid, B. 2006 ‘Moving on up? Negotiating the transition to adulthood for young people with autism NAS) compared to 48 per cent of the whole population of people with disabilities (Labour Force survey, office for national statistics 2008)
Adults with autism often want to work and with the correct level of support it has been proven that they can. This suggests that the low employment figures cannot be attributed to a lack of desire to work. These statistics also clearly demonstrate that it is considerably more difficult for an adult with autism than an adult with another disability to secure full time employment.
There are a number of key challenges that prevent people with autism from accessing work. These range from a lack of appropriate skills due to problems in accessing education and training (including social skills and work skills training) to the failure of employers to understand and make reasonable adjustments (both during the recruitment process and in the workplace) and a lack of appropriate support for people with autism to find and sustain employment.
The new assessments for ESA (and PIP when it is implemented) do not make reasonable adjustments to take into consideration the social and communication impairments that people with autism face. ATOS assessors do not have adequate training in autism and the centres do not take into account the sensory needs of people with autism.
Fibromyalgia, which has also been referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome, fibromyositis and fibrositis, is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia also experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound, and cognitive difficulties. Many individuals also experience a number of other symptoms and overlapping conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and arthritis.
The pain of fibromyalgia is profound, chronic and widespread. It can migrate to all parts of the body and vary in intensity. FM pain has been described as stabbing and shooting pain and deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling, and burning are often present and add to the discomfort of the patient. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors that affect pain include cold/humid weather, non-restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.
In today's world many people complain of fatigue; however, the fatigue of FM is much more than being tired after a particularly busy day or after a sleepless night. The fatigue of FM is an all-encompassing exhaustion that can interfere with occupational, personal, social or educational activities. Symptoms include profound exhaustion and poor stamina.
Many fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder that prevents them from getting deep, restful, restorative sleep. Medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the Stage 4 deep sleep of FM patients. During sleep, individuals with FM are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, limiting the amount of time they spend in deep sleep.
Additional symptoms may include: irritable bowel and bladder, headaches and migraines, restless legs syndrome (periodic limb movement disorder), impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud's Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.
The UK officially went into recession during the last 3 months of 2008 where there were more than two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. This evidently had a devastating impact on employment figures in the UK (UK in recession as economy slides: BBC News: website).
Coming out the recession the figures aren't getting any better. Within the last quarter the total number of unemployed people increased by 44,000 to reach 2.49 million. Youth unemployment reaching 965,000, the highest figure since such records began in 1992. And the long-term unemployment also deteriorated, with 17,000 more people out of work for more than a year, to a total of 833,000. (Economy tracker: BBC & Office of National Statistics: Respective websites)
Unemployment can make it hard to pay bills, and failing to do so can damage your job prospects and carry over to your credit rating. More and more companies (especially thoses in the financial sector - those directly linked to the recession between 2008-2010) are demanding that credit checks are conducted before you enter into employment with them.
This means employment opportunities can be lost and the duration of unemployment is lengthened for certain individuals. This creates a vicious cycle of chronic unemployment and state dependency. This form of discrimination hits those most vulnerable as well as disadvantaged groups such as single mothers, young people and disabled individuals.
This petition proposes there should be a ban on credit checks preceding employment contracts. Failing this a policy should be put in place that commands that if a credit check is conducted that this should not affect whether a person is accepted for an employment position.
The individual should be given the opportunity to improve their credit rating by agreeing to pay their debtors through their employer (e.g. an amount can be deducted from their monthly payslip and forwarded to their debtors - like with student loans). This provides a win win solution.
The company will know their employee is keen to solve past destructive credit patterns and they will gain recognition as beneficial company to work for and one that seeks to improve and develop its employees. The employee will gain employment and the ability to pay off their debtors while also gaining a better credit rating - clearing their name and making them more appealing to future employers
After witnessing a recession that took so many jobs from so many people, this is not the time (especially for the financial sector) to be providing a further barrier to employment by be demanding that credit checks be conducted on people who need work the most.
the cp podcast made by the dead workers party went in early 2010 i guess and i wonder if anyone wants it back
Many people with severe medical conditions and disabilities are being automatically forced to undergo a Work Capability Assessment by the private company Atos Healthcare, and having their ESA sickness benefit cut off as a result.
Atos Healthcare is contracted for £500million over 7 years and is working under contract to the DWP to meet the government's target of forcing 1 million claimants onto Employment Support Allowance. Those claimants suffering from the following conditions (Atos' descriptions of the conditions, not mine) are, by policy, automatically required to undergo an assessment: Alcohol Dependence, Anxiety, Depression, Drug Dependence, Panic Attacks.
Those suffering from the following are, by policy, to be ‘tentatively’ invited: Agoraphobia, Anorexia Nervosa, Bipolar Affective Disorder/Bipolar Disease Manic Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Eating Disorder, Learning Difficulties, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Phobic Anxiety, Social Phobia.
Those suffering from the following may be invited if so advised by the 'Medical Advisor': Mental Retardation, Mental Subnormality, Parkinson's Disease, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Severe Depression.
All of us who sign this petition support it, even if we are expats or residents of other countries.
Atos Healthcare has the £80million-per-year contract for 7 years to act for Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) to 'assess' sick people claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
They have been working to the previous government's target of pushing 1 million claimants onto Jobseekers' Allowance, and there are some well-documented abuses of vulnerable individuals such as refusing to allow note-taking or tape-recording of the assessment, failing to report truthfully where the claimant has demonstrated incapacity, inadequate facilities for those who are ill during an assessment, a computer system which gives garbled versions of examinations to DWP and various other abuses.
Update, August 2011: Owing to lack of free time there is only so much the admin can do regarding this petition. Anyone wishing to do more than sign this petition can write at any time to David Cameron, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA. You can also ask everyone you know to view the petition and, if they agree to sign it and ask everyone in turn they they know to do the same. Advertising it on Facebook and Twitter would also increase attention for the cause. Thanks for reading this.
Update, March 2011: Atos' contract is now worth £300 Million as the Government rolls out medical testing of I.B. patients with the eventual aim of testing disabled claimants too. To look at deaths reportedly caused by Atos, Google "Sack Atos" and "Atos deaths".