'Give jobs to autistic' plea to employers

By Caitlin Pike

A survey carried out on behalf of Mencap has found that the media
believes there aren’t enough people with learning disabilities such as
autism and Down’s syndrome working in the industry.

Lloyd Page, the author of the survey, works for Channel Five’s
MacIntyre Investigates. Page found that 90 per cent of those questioned
said representation in the press and on television of people with
learning disabilities is not sufficient.

Seventy per cent could
not name anyone such as Page, who has mild learing difficulties, in a
positive role model on television or radio.

Donal MacIntyre said:
“Lloyd is probably the most efficient researcher I could ever have. He
is breaking down barriers all the time with anyone who comes into
contact with him at the BBC and Channel Five.”

Page hopes his
research will encourage the media to employ more people with learning
disabilities and make more programmes that they appreciate and relate
to. “I hope that you will include people with a learning disability
when you are writing, casting or interviewing for press, television and
radio,” he said.

Alison Walsh, Channel 4’s editorial manager
(disability), said broadcasters and production companies need to seek
out people with learning disabilities.

“There are thousands of people without disabilities who are knocking on doors and sending in CVs,” she said.

“Broadcasters and production companies need to make a specific effort to look beyond those non disabled applicants.”

Mencap
has recently trained people with learning disabilities as media
spokespeople, who are available to give interviews to the press.

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