NOW the clocks have gone forward, let’s hope for better weather and better things to come for people who have a disability.

East Renfrewshire Disability Action (ERDA) has been busy this year, supporting a number of events to raise awareness of disability issues.

To support World Autism Awareness Week, we teamed up with The Avenue shopping centre in Newton Mearns to arrange for an information stand to be put in place.

We then asked the National Autistic Society to come along to give out information about people with autism, along with information about ERDA.

Autism is a lifelong development disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to others.

If you are autistic, it’s a life long condition, autism is not an illness or disease. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.

More information about the condition can be find online at

The stand generated a lot of interest and we will be working on more awareness events in the future.

This will include raising awareness of learning disabilities, with events taking place from May 15-21, when the theme will be ‘Looking Back, Thinking Forward.’

When I look back at disability issues over the past three decades, it is clear there has been a lot of good work done - but it is also clear there is still more to be done.

Back in 2010, the Young Scotland’s Got Talent campaign was launched to provide supported employment services for all young people with a learning disability and individuals on the autistic spectrum.

The campaign still runs across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland to ensure that everyone with a disability who wants to work has the required support.

I’ve attended a few of these campaign events and they are very well co-ordinated and well attended.

Each roadshow has different speakers, from employers to members of the Scottish Government.

There have also been fashion shows with a difference, where people with disability and those who are autistic take to the catwalk wearing their work uniform, helping to inspire the audience.

The two organisations running Young Scotland’s Got Talent are Values Into Action Scotland and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability.

Recently this year’s Young Scotland’s Got Talent was held at The Experience in Hillington. So watch out for this pop up all over Scotland.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to one of my school friends, Robert Watson, who passed away recently at the age of 31.

Robert had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) but, despite the obstacles this presented, he worked hard to highlight the lack of hospice care available to young adults in Scotland.

Indeed, he took the campaign all the way to the Scottish Parliament.

In 2014, Robert was named Muscular Dystrophy UK‎’s Scottish Campaigner of the Year and was a trustee of the DMD Pathfinders charity.

He also played a role in the creation of the charity, which he believed was critical for raising awareness of adults with DMD.

Robert had many passions, including a love of Patrick Thistle. He had a season ticket and loved playing football, including powerchair football.

He was a nice guy who was much loved and will be missed by all who knew him.

If you would like to be a member of ERDA, e-mail us at You don’t have to be coping with a disability to join us - everyone is welcome.