My name is Luke Aylward and I am a 32-year-old copywriter, designer and autistic activist based in Leeds. Right now, I work two days a week for Advonet’s Leeds Autism AIM project as information officer.
For the rest of the week, I do other pieces of work for Advonet, a Leeds-based independent advocacy charity. I also work on a freelance basis as a copywriter and designer.
I am currently looking for part-time work in either content, digital marketing or administration. In total, I have over six years of experience in content and copywriting-based roles. In addition to that, I am skilled in using the entire Microsoft Office suite and in producing and maintaining spreadsheets for a variety of purposes.
In the past year or so, I have completed advocacy training, safeguarding training for working with vulnerable adults and children and have an NCFE Level 2 qualification in Information, Advice or Guidance. In 2006, I gained a degree in Journalism from the University of Lincoln.
Aside from experience in copywriting and design, I describe myself as an autistic activist. In early childhood, I received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. I refer to myself as autistic and am proud of it.
Autism is something that permeates most aspects of my life – at work, socialising with friends and sharing views with those around me. Being autistic isn’t a disadvantage – it’s basically a different way of thinking.
Through Leeds Autism AIM, in previous voluntary roles and at a handful of talks and events, I have put forward the view that autistic people are just as capable as non-autistic or neurotypical people. We have a great deal to offer, but society doesn’t reflect this view – just 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time, paid employment.
Sexuality and interests
I came out as openly gay just over a decade ago. As is the case with being autistic, I’m proud to be gay too. The gay subculture I have most affinity with is the Bear subculture – big, hairy men, basically.
In my spare time, I like to read, write, design, listen to metal and post-rock music and follow current affairs. I also like to watch two sports – darts and football.