My House of Lords Speech

By Louise Chandler


On Monday 13th May, I spoke at the House of Lords, highlighting the struggles that autistic people face in education and the important role of teachers in supporting us. In my speech, I called for increased teacher training, given that only 14% of mainstream secondary schools have received more than half a day of autism training. Intertwined in my speech was my lived experience as an autistic person at school. You can watch my speech by clicking the button below.


Louise speaking in front of an audience at the House of Lords.

The event I spoke at was called ‘My Maiden Speech’ organised by The Speakers Trust and Lord McNicol, showcasing young speakers associated with different charities across the UK. I was selected to represent Ambitious about Autism.

Since being shared online, my speech has been viewed by over half a million people and has over 1,500 comments from autistic young people, their parents/carers, and professionals, adding their voice in calling for change to improve the experiences of autistic young people in education and highlighting their own experiences. This has further emphasised the scale of the struggles faced by autistic young people in education and has pushed me to continue to fight for change. In the future, I would like all education professionals in Buckinghamshire and beyond, to receive regular autism training co-produced and delivered by those with lived experience.

This has mirrored some of the discussions we have had at the Shout Out for SEND group around the importance of improving education experiences for SEND young people and in increasing access to SEND training for teachers. Shout Out for SEND is a group of young people with a special educational need or disability (SEND), in Buckinghamshire who meet regularly to share our perspectives and have a say on issues which matter to us.

Prior to speaking in the House of Lords, I attended two workshops with other young speakers where we learnt how to structure an effective speech and deliver this powerfully. I felt so proud to be amongst other young changemakers who shared their experiences and calls for change. Their encouragement taught me the importance of working collectively and in the power of our generation to drive the changes that we need to see in the world. I hope that more young people have the chance to speak directly to those who represent and make decisions about us.

I felt incredibly privileged to have this opportunity and it is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. But above all, I hope for change to the education system, so that all education professionals receive autism training, allowing autistic young people like me to thrive, not just survive in our schools.

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