Today (03 December) is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992 in order to “promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development; and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”
This year’s theme is “Not All Disabilities are Visible”, which is aimed at making people more mindful of the fact that disabilities can come in forms we can’t always notice with the naked eye, such as neurodiversity, including autism.
At last week’s SNP Conference, delegates overwhelmingly passed a motion lodged by a member who has autistic children committing the SNP Government to introducing an Autism Accreditation Scheme. Such a programme would include mandatory training for employers who take part, providing them with the skills to employ more autistic adults and support them in sustaining their employment in autism friendly working workplaces, including the built environment.
Over recent years, the SNP Government has worked hard to improve conditions for those who are disabled in many ways, and it will continue to do so.
As of last Friday, disabled children across Scotland started receiving the SNP Government’s Child Winter Heating Assistance. This is a new, automatic £200 payment to help families of a child on the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance for Children to heat their homes and is anticipated to help more than 14,000 children.
In addition, Social Security Scotland will start taking applications for Child Disability Payment from summer 2021 as part of a pilot, ahead of a full roll-out across the country from autumn 2021.
This will be followed by the introduction of Adult Disability Payment, which will be piloted from spring 2022 and available across the country by summer 2022.
While under the UK Government’s system people can only apply for Disability Assistance by post or telephone, the SNP Government has made sure that under the new Scottish system, you will be able to choose to apply for the payment in the way that suits your needs - online or face-to-face, as well as by phone or by post.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“While I know people with disabilities are just as busy focusing on what they can do as those who don’t have disabilities, it is important that assistance is out there when needed and easily accessible. This will be of great benefit to those applying for disability benefits once Social Security Scotland has responsibility instead of the UK Department for Work and Pensions.
“As for neurodiversity and other conditions imperceptible to the eye, it is important we take those into account and show each other some understanding and consideration. Once designed and implemented, the Autism Accreditation Scheme will make it easier for employers to provide those on the spectrum with the best productive work environment.”