I am doing a PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, with the working title “Personal Assistance: The Challenge of Autonomy” (for more about my PhD, click here, and to see my call for participants for my research, click here). I also have a Postgraduate Certificate in Disability Studies and an MA in Social Research from Leeds (my MA dissertation was a history of personal assistance in the UK), and a BA in Politics with International Studies from the University of Warwick.
I was born in 1982 and have lived in various places around England. I now live with my partner in Manchester. After a childhood and early adulthood of being obviously ‘different from the norm’, but not being diagnosed with anything, I read online about neurodiversity and the autistic spectrum while doing my undergraduate degree. This led to me being diagnosed with ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ in 2005 (although I now prefer to identify as simply ‘autistic’, or more broadly ‘neurodivergent’), discovering the Social Model of Disability, and making contact with the Disabled People’s Movement.
Among other jobs, I worked for a few years as a Personal Assistant (P.A.) for a fellow disabled person with a physical impairment. This experience led me to consider the questions about disability, personal assistance, work and capitalism that eventually inspired my PhD proposal.
I have presented at various Disability Studies conferences and seminars on subjects including neurodiversity, disabled identity, work and disability, and personal assistance. You can download some of these papers from my profile page on academia.edu.