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MP Backs GMB Dyspraxia Campaign

Friday, October 12, 2018


Dyspraxia hit the headlines this week after it was revealed a character in the new series of Doctor Who has the condition

An MP has backed GMB’s dyspraxia campaign in a moving blog post.

Emma Lewell-Buck, member of Parliament for South Shields, who is dyspraxic, says she is ‘proud’ of GMB for ‘being at the forefront’ of campaigning for awareness of dyspraxia.

The politician says that, as far as she knows, she is the first MP to have dyspraxia -and that the condition ‘affects her every day’.

GMB’s new Thinking Differently at Work campaign includes a dyspraxia guide [1] which will help employers create a positive working environment for neurodivergent workers.

Dyspraxia hit the headlines this week after it was revealed one of the characters in the new series of Doctor Who – which was watched by more than 8 million people on Sunday – has dyspraxia. [2]

GMB’s guide is designed to help create more inclusive environments and tackle discrimination in the workplace.

·       Only 10% of employers explicitly address neurodiversity through their people management policies and practices [3]

·       The number of dyslexic workers receiving support through the Access to Work programme increased by 15% between 2015/16 and 2016/17 [4]

·       32% of autistic adults are in employment - and only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment - despite the fact that 77% of unemployed autistic people want to work [5]

·       The unemployment rate is more than twice as high for disabled adults (at 8.8%) than it is for adults who are not disabled (at 3.4%) [6] 

Emma Lewell-Buck said:

“As far as I know, I am the first MP to have dyspraxia, but I would not be surprised to learn that there have been others before me. 

“Dyspraxia affects me every single day, but I don’t feel that it has stopped me from achieving my dreams. Now, as a Member of Parliament, I know how lucky I am being in a role where I can openly talk about my condition and not have it impact on my job.  That’s why I try to use my position to speak up for those who feel they can’t be open about their dyspraxia.

“Because many people worry about being held back by their employer, or not being able to find work at all because of their dyspraxia.

“In my former jobs I never spoke openly to my employers. I was so worried that I would be first on the dole queue if any cuts came around.

“This is one of the reasons why raising awareness of dyspraxia is so important, and why I am so proud of the GMB, my union, for once again being at the forefront and being the first to produce such a guide. “

[See note 7 for full blog post].

Nell Andrew, GMB National Equality and Inclusion Officer, said:

"Dyspraxia is a serious workplace issue, with an estimated 1.6 million workers believed to be dyspraxic.

“Far too many dyspraxia workers face needless barriers within the workplace. Not enough employers know what dyspraxia is or how to offer the proper support needed. 

“We are proud to be launching one of the first trade union guides for dyspraxic workers, as part of our 'Thinking differently at Work' neurodiversity toolkit. 

“This guide aims to break down barriers to getting support and empower dyspraxia workers and reps to secure the reasonable adjustments they need to thrive in the workplace.

“Chock full of essential information, from getting a diagnosis, to speaking to your manager, we are delighted to have received support from the Dyspraxia Foundation and GMB activists to create a document that will tackle unhelpful stereotypes and champion the strengths as well, as needs of dyspraxic workers."  


Contact: GMB Press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:



[3] Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 1 in 10 HR professionals say their organisation is now focusing on neurodiversity at work, 15 February 2018,

[4] DWP response to GMB Freedom of Information Act request 04 October 2018.

[5] National Autistic Society, The autism employment gap: Too Much Information in the workplace, 2016

[6] House of Commons Library, briefing paper: People with disabilities in employment, 16 August 2018,

[7] Emma Lewell-Buck MP, ‘Are You Lucky Enough To Have Dyspraxia At Work?’, 11 October 2018   

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