Autistic NHS Lothian key worker receives recognition for activism during Covid-19 pandemic

A young woman from the Capital who struggled to receive an autism diagnosis for more than a decade has been recognised for her work breaking the stigma around disability.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:45 pm

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Kelly Given, 24, who works on NHS Lothian’s Covid-19 mass vaccination programme, has been named on the Shaw Trust’s 2021 Disability Power 100 list for 2021.

The Disability Power 100 is an annual celebration of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK, working to break the stigma around disability, creating a more accessible and inclusive world for all.

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Kelly Given, 24,  is chair of the NHS Lothian Disability Network.
Kelly Given, 24, is chair of the NHS Lothian Disability Network.

Ms Given is a vocal disability rights activist, motivated by her own difficulties with diagnosis.

She is currently working with NHS Lothian Disability Network to improve access to diagnosis and early intervention for autistic girls.

She said: “My passion for disability justice stems from my own personal journey to diagnosis.

“After over a decade of struggle and misdiagnosis, I was diagnosed as an adult with Autism and ADHD.

Ms Given wants to improve access to diagnosis and early intervention for autistic girls.

“I have a particular interest in improving access to diagnosis and early intervention for autistic girls as well as the overhaul of workplace practices, to ensure the workplace is inclusive and accessible for neurodiverse employees.

“I am currently appointed to the board of a national charity, dedicated to advocacy and support for autistic women and girls."

"Being on this list is a true honour”

Honoured to have been selected for the prestigious list Ms Given plans to use the platform to promote neurodiversity in the workplace, including NHS Lothian.

“Being named on this list is a true honour,” she said. “I am in the company of some incredible people.

“I hope to use this platform to further my mission to promote neurodiversity inclusion in the workplace.

“I also look forward to channelling this honour into lobbying for the Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodiversity Bill, due to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament before the end of the current Parliamentary term.

“I want neurodiverse people, women in particular, to know that I am in their corner and that I will do my very best to secure better outcomes for all of us.”

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