The Autistic Empire is an international organisation with Citizens from three continents and counting, but is registered as a company limited by shares in the United Kingdom. The Empire is led by the Imperial Council, organised by our Secretariat, who meet monthly in London on Sundays 4-6pm. We are mostly volunteers, but have occasionally hired staff and would like to do this again in the future if we ever make the money.
We have an incredibly small budget which covers essential expenses such as our company registration, business insurance, website costs, and other unavoidable costs without which the institution would collapse immediately. We are therefore reliant on the huge amounts of labour and time currently being voluntarily given by autistic people and allies who believe in our vision to build our capacity to expand the empire and liberate our people.
Our ladder of participation
We envisage building a community based around people who participate at different rungs on a ladder. Everything a Citizen contributes, whether they take an active role, just share our content, or sit at the back and watch, is valuable.
The Imperial Council sets strategy and the direction of the Empire. We currently have several spaces vacant, and would welcome applications of interest from qualified Citizens.
- Maximum of nine members
- Unlimited term (minimum 12 months)
- Minimum commitment of a day a month
- Each council member has either a defined portfolio or picks up tasks from each council meeting
- Attends monthly meetings in London in person or via teleconference
Sarah (ex-officio): Management, administration, director of the company
Cee: Secretariat, administration
Odai: Podcast manager
The area lead roles are for semi-autonomous projects that are supported by the Autistic Empire, as a platform for all autistic people, which benefit from our structure and resources but which are not part of our official programme of work.
Alex: Area Lead for Research and the Grand Sensory Survey
Joseph: Area Lead for Autistic Pride
Particular defined roles, which may or may not be paid.
Rob (Applied Geekery): Our web developer contact
Hazel: Interim Shop Manager
Diversity and inclusion policy
The Autistic Empire is not exclusively populated by autistic people – we have some people helping us who are committed to our vision for other reasons, such as having an autistic friend or relative, neurodiverse solidarity, professional reasons, or because they have time on their hands and are kind. However, we are trying to create an autistic-majority society and therefore the norms of behaviour and expectations are set to the neurology of autistic people.
This means many things but, very specifically, that you do not have to apologise for being autistic. You do not have to apologise for the inherent way you talk (such as being literal or misunderstanding something someone has said), or stimming, avoiding eye contact, or any of the traits you have that are harmless but annoying or disturbing to neurotypical people.
The creation of an autistic-majority society is a work in progress and we are feeling around in the dark trying to work out what is authentically autistic and what are expectations and demands that have been laid upon us by the neurotypical people who conditioned us. In particularly, the boundary between what is actually “rude” and what is just the way we talk to each other is something we are all still trying to nail down. This will take experimentation.
Autistic people have commonality but we are different from each other, and sometimes we are going to make mistakes and get it wrong because we didn’t know about your environmental needs or because we failed to take them into account. We are not here to send you into a meltdown. Please vocalise what you need, assume good faith and give us goodwill in supporting us trying to accommodate you – you will rarely be the only person with that need and we want to be as inclusive as possible of our people.
Autistic people very commonly have conditions such as but not limited to, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dysexecutive functioning, epilepsy, depression, gastric problems, allergies and all of those disorders that appear to be fancy medical titles for other aspects of autism. There is a strong correlation for autistic people to have minority sexual and gender identities. Along with this, many autistic people also have physical and mental disabilities just like neurotypical people. Autistic people exist in all genders, nationalities, ethnicities, religious and political persuasions. The Autistic Empire is committed to a diverse and inclusive society, recognising that this makes us stronger rather than weaker.
As part of an inclusive society, we all have to recognise the fact that sometimes access needs clash (the visually impaired person who uses a guide dog and the person who has a phobia of or allergy to dogs, for example, or the parent who has to bring their baby to an event where there are people who are highly sensitive to the sound of loud crying) and that there are simply some limitations on what we have the resources to provide (BSL interpreters, Changing Places toilets). As a matter of policy, we will strive to eliminate structural barriers to participation throughout the Empire and where we are unable to meet all access needs, we will do our best to ensure that across our entire programme of activity, everyone will be able to participate somewhere.
Life happens and sometimes you are going to be unable to get your work done, whether this is because of illness, mental health problems, chronic conditions or personal issues. We are committed to being as understanding about this as possible. Please inform us at the earliest possible opportunity if you are going to be away or unavoidably absent so we can arrange things so disruption is minimised.Please organise your work life in such a way that we can step in and keep things ticking over while you are away – this could involve keeping documents on cloud-based services instead of your personal computer, keeping us up to date about your plans and working habits, and ensuring that we have the contact details of anyone you may be working with to deliver your work so we can inform them of what has happened.