Laura Edwards (they/them)
I am a proud autistic advocate who absorbs and amplifies autistic voices of all ages and is devoted towards improving public understanding of Autism in Norfolk, the UK and internationally.
Laura is a qualified science teacher who discovered they are autistic in the midst of the global pandemic. They have lived experience as an undiagnosed child, undiagnosed adult, newly diagnosed adult and an adult whose whole life has been turned upside down by rediscovering who they are after 33 years of not understanding why life was so difficult. They have an MA in Children and Young People’s Worlds including matters of mental health and disability, and have two young children of their own meaning they experienced maternity services as an undiagnosed autistic adult with disconcerting experiences of pain. Laura’s father was in residential nursing care in the final years of his life after being deemed too difficult for Social Services to maintain his independence, eventually dying with a Parkinson’s diagnosis and symptoms of depression, anxiety and dementia that went misunderstood.
Laura hopes to represent as best they can the autistic communities that they are involved in, from Norfolk, UK to the USA. If you have met one autistic person you have met one autistic person, unless you have met one autistic person who absorbs the experiences of other autistic people and can translate those experiences in a variety of settings to provide a holistic view of the complexity of our neurotype across many perspectives. Laura does not claim to be an expert by any means, but the topic of autism and the issues that affect the autistic community has been their special interest for over two years and they hope to bring some of those perspectives round the table at the Citizens' Senate. Laura looks forward to networking with those not in their usual think tank and gaining new perspectives from those who support autistic people in different settings, especially learning from the experiences of those who are multiply marginalised.
Condition interest or area of knowledge
- Mental health conditions linked to autism
- Gender - non-binary and female health (including reproductive)
- Lived experience of disability discrimination
- Co-production in Adult Social Care
- Children and Young People in the Education Sector and their health
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding and parent of young children
- Care of elderly father living with Parkinson's Disease
Where I can help
- UK (National)
Organisations I am involved with:
- Norfolk Autism Partnership Board - board member
- Curators of Change - co-production facilitator for Norfolk projects
- Norfolk County Council - Autism Support Service Development volunteer
- NHS Recovery College - course development and peer tutor
- Dogface Improv - course member and participant