Fighting for change
Craig is a father, a stepfather and a grandfather. He cares for his four stepchildren, his own son and his grandson, some of whom have disabilities themselves.
His high-functioning autism was not diagnosed until he was 26, including being severely dyslexic. This meant he did not receive the correct support he needed during his education and early years.
Shockingly, after working for a large retail organisations for seven years, Craig was abruptly dismissed with the statement that they were unable to make reasonable adjustments for his autism, leaving him out of work and on welfare benefits for some time.
Passionate about care and equality
These experiences have made Craig more passionate about legal rights and care for people with learning disabilities and autism. With the right reasonable adjustments, he has become an Expert Advisor and is in paid employment with Inclusion North.
Craig’s reliability, punctuality and willingness have been highly praised by his employers, who have also said that he was ‘a valuable member of the panel who used his experience appropriately in the Care and Treatment Reviews’ and ‘brought in personal knowledge around Autistic Spectrum Disorder and misperceptions and expertise on legal rights’.
A campaigner for change
As well as his work with Inclusion North, Craig holds a number of other roles and positions helping people with learning disabilities and autism, working top-down and the bottom-up to bring about positive change.
He holds two Trustee and Director posts, one to the Esteem Multi Academy Trust, which consists of 10 special educational needs schools, including three specialist learning disabilities and autism schools.
He is a member to two Parliamentary Commissions: the Westminster Commission on Autism and the Westminster AchieveAbility Commission on Dyslexia – Neurodiversity. Craig’s work on these Commissions has been extensive, and he was a key player in the “Spectrum of Obstacles” report, which urged politicians to make autism training for health professionals mandatory.
This recommendation has recently been accepted, and will make a real difference to the health outcomes for people with autism – a huge achievement!
Alongside this, Craig has also worked on the “Bridging the Gap to employment” report, which focused on improving the employment gap for neurodiverse people and “A Spectrum of Harmful Interventions for Autism”, raising awareness of the numerous harmful fake “cures” for autism advertised.
Craig has led the media management on much of the Commissions’ work, and has often been featured in the local and national press.
Craig’s self-esteem took a knock when he was dismissed from his retail job. Through his work both with and outside of Inclusion North, Craig’s self-belief has started to grow again.
He has recently been successful in becoming an NHS England Enhanced Health, Wellbeing and Advocacy checker for patients that were placed at Walton Hall Hospital. Now they have moved, after the closer of this hospital this year, he speaks up for the patients failed by the system and re-educates staff when poor treatment is given.
His advocacy has not always been easy, however. Craig has faced opposition and systemic abuse within the Community, over many years, from Statutory services like health and social care. This has been for speaking out about the obstacles himself and other people with autism and/or learning disabilities all-too-often face.
Nevertheless, he continues to campaign for change and never fails to impress his colleagues with his dedication and expert knowledge of legislation and human rights. He is looking forward to doing even more to help disabled and young people.
How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?
“I am speechless – very proud to be recognised but I do this because I care.”
“I feel that Craig as come on in leaps and bounds. He also as a real passion for wanting what is right for people. Craig is a real inspiration.” – Leaders’ List 2019 Judge
In the press
- ‘Healthcare is failing people with autism’
Read on derbyshiretimes.co.uk
- Westminster Commission calls for better protections for people with autism
Read on tobyperkins.org.uk
- Call for more autism training for NHS staff
Read on theguardian.com
- A campaigner from Chesterfield wants the law changing to protect people with autism from being offered bogus and harmful interventions
Read on peakfm.co.uk
- Ground breaking report on systemic barriers to employment launched today
Read on peakfm.co.uk
- Call for more autism training for NHS medical staff
Read on itv.com