Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan attended a comedy show held at Scottish Parliament to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The National Autistic Society Scotland [Tuesday, December 13].
A group of autistic adults performed stand-up comedy for the first time at the event, after being supported to write, hone and perform their own comedy by Janey Godley and her daughter Ashley Storrie.
The workshops were designed to challenge stereotypes after research found that 73 per cent of autistic people in Scotland said that the public considers them to be ‘anti-social’, and 80 per cent feel they are judged as being ‘shy’.
Routines that premiered at Scottish Parliament include ‘improv’ between two wizards, a long and winding piece on procrastination, and some very romantic maths gags. More than 100 guests attended, including Stuart McMillan MSP and the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald.
Mr McMillan said:
“I attended this event to learn more about autism and how the condition affects people in Scotland, including my constituents in Inverclyde.
“Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Around 58,000 people in Scotland are autistic.
“I was really impressed by the performers, and would like congratulate The National Autistic Society Scotland on reaching its 20th anniversary.”
The parliamentary event marked the 20th anniversary of The National Autistic Society Scotland. The charity provides information and services, and campaigns for a more autism-friendly Scotland.
Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “I am so proud of our budding comedians, who created funny, clever routines to perform on our 20th anniversary.
“Our charity has achieved a huge amount over the past 20 years, and we will continue to provide innovative services and campaign on issues affecting autistic people for the next 20 years and beyond. Until everyone understands.”
The Scottish Parliament became the first building in Scotland to receive the Autism Friendly Award in 2015, and recently renewed its commitment to making sure that autistic people can access and enjoy the building, securing the award for a second time.