by Frances Ryan
Originally published: May 8, 2017
"I went for an interview last week – a van job, cleaning – and I told them I had autism,” explains Christopher Burns, 40, in Cornwall. “The interviewer got his phone out and called his wife ‘cos she was a nurse. He had to find out what autism was.”
Burns – who has speech problems as well as autism – wasn’t surprised. He’s been struggling to find work for the past 20 years and hasn’t had a full-time job in eight.
Any contracted work he’s had – such as an eight-month spell as a postman or a month as a bed raiser fitter – has been fleeting as Burns’ conditions meant he found it hard to “fit in” with colleagues, and employers judged his capability. “That attitude of pigeonholing, of my speech and how I am,” he says.