Advocating for Emily who made the transition from school to independent living included registering her for disability benefits. The system is complex and demoralising and the practice of sanctions has driven tens of thousands of people into poverty and caused an exponential rise in the use of food banks. Here is a film of me talking Emily through the forms you have to fill in.
I've launched 3 national campaigns on disability issues and also campaigned locally against austerity measures which targeted local provision such as day centres.
My first national campaign "Don't play me, Pay Me" (2008) was a joint campaign with my daughter Lizzy after she was became the first person in the UK with autism, to play a character with the same condition in Dustbin Baby for the BBC in 2008.
The campaign sought to champion disabled talent in the entertainment industry and to ensure authentic casting across the board. Whether behind or in front of the camera, the creative ambitions of disabled performers are no less real or important than any other creative person.
My second national campaign was "People not Punchlines" (2012) highlighting the issue of targeted comedy mocking disabled people. Disability can happen to anyone at anytime and the practice of punching down on people for something over which they have no control, was at that time increasingly popular. It was never an attempt to curb free speech but instead a suggestion to rethink and find subjects fr targets humour who actually deserve ridicule.
My third national campaign was "Out of Sight, Out of mind" (2015) which addressed the issue of invisible conditions and "hidden" impairments. I launched a survey, which demonstrated how people who live with invisible conditions such as depression or autism, often choose not to reveal their diagnosis to friends family, at school and at work due to fear of stigma and that when they have done so, the reaction can be overwhelmingly negative.
I was invited by the charity Quarriers and Moray Council, to be the keynote speaker at their carers event in Elgin. I made this short film which included messages of support from Kay Burley, Nicky Campbell, Ricky Gervais and Jo Whiley.
I also campaign locally against the cuts to services for disabled people and carers. The loss of day centres around the country has proved devastating for many families.