Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Becki Parker

Category: Information and support

I feel very excited to be named as a Coronavirus Leader 2020. I feel very happy and proud of my achievements.

Putting other people before herself

“Becki is a dancer. She is a teacher. She is a coach. She is a designer. She is a speaker. She is an educator. She is a role model. She is a vlogger. She is a mum. She also has autism.”

These lines in Becki’s nomination stand out because they clearly state that Becki is a lot of things but she is not defined by her autism. But we think something is missing – that Becki is also an inspiration, and here’s why…

Her first instinct during lockdown was to help people

The first thing Becki thought about when lockdown gripped the nation was other people. She used her own feelings to put herself in other people’s shoes and used this empathy to come up with two priorities:

  1. Autistic people who might be confused by the changing lockdown rules and guidance.
  2. People locked down with an abusive partner.

Through a series of videos she reached out to those feeling vulnerable and offered support, guidance and a friend.

She recorded videos, talking about how she was feeling and coping. She wanted to show that it is ok to be confused and scared and that you aren’t the only person feeling that way.

Becki was also worried about people living in abusive relationships and what would happen to those locked down with their abuser.

She created some accessible information about what to do in this situation. You can download it here, from inclusionnorth.org

She also recorded a video asking the government to make lock down and covid-19 information in easy read. It was covered in the Evening Express and received lots of positive feedback from people thankful for her campaigning work.

But this isn’t all! She was also part of a small team of self-advocates who worked with Inclusion North to produce daily videos of their coronavirus news bulletins to make sure everyone has access to timely, accessible information.

In this video, she demonstrates some Makaton signs people might find useful.

But what was lockdown like for Becki?

We’ve talked a lot about how she’s helped other people, and how she’s spent a lot of time thinking about what other people are feeling. But, it’s important we don’t ignore the challenges Becki has faced because they truly show how brave and selfless she has been.

Being autistic, clear rules and routine work very well for Becki. When lockdown started, all of this was jumbled up and there was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety.

We all remember the panic buying and stock that was in limited supply. This is frustrating for many people but when you only eat a certain type of bread that’s selling out and have always relied on hand sanitiser to feel safe these shortages bring increased anxiety and worry.

Becki with her daughter, who she has been home schooling during lockdown.

This additional stress on top of having to adapt to virtual meetings and social cues over video conferences, and having to home school her daughter, was exhausting. It sounds like simply getting through the day would have been a real challenge for Becki, but she still found the strength to help other people.

“All this extra anxiety around daily living added extra work for Becki to just get through the day, it was exhausting and full of anxiety, so the fact she came out as a champion for other disabled people was amazing and shows how strong and committed she is.” – a comment from her nomination.

Thank you and well done Becki

We think that Becki has done brilliantly and we hope this award goes some way to show her just how much she’s appreciated. Her work has helped people know it’s ok not to feel ok. She’s helped make sure everyone has the equal opportunity to understand the news. And she’s helped those who might not feel safe locked down at home.

How does it feel to win?

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