HELPING SHOPS AND SERVICES BECOME MORE AUTISM-FRIENDLY
We are supporting the national awareness project called ‘Connect to Autism’ by Autism Alliance.
The project is encouraging shops and services to make a commitment to people with autism by signing the Autism Charter to show they are ready to make reasonable adjustments and receive free training to become autism friendly.
Autism-friendly environments give people with autism and their families the confidence to go out into their communities and to engage as equal citizens. This means that, often for the first time, they have the confidence to visit shops, restaurants, leisure venues and many more.
Autism is a lifelong condition affecting around 1.1% of the population; people affected by autism are often excluded from their own community through lack of awareness. We have created the video above to make more people aware of autism and how small adjustments can help people with autism and their families feel welcome in the community.
The video was developed with and stars some of the members of our Bournemouth drop-in group who found the experience very rewarding, particularly being able to share their perspective of autism and how small changes in the community could benefit their day to day experiences.
ARE YOU AN ORGANISATION AND WOULD LIKE TO SIGN UP TO THE CHARTER?
Autism Wessex wants to improve access for people with autism and is working with local services and the local community to raise awareness and to encourage organisations to become autism-friendly and sign The Autism Charter.
The Autism Charter has been produced by people with autism. It provides a framework for making venues autism-friendly. Being autism-friendly, above all, means being ready to make minor adjustments so that people with autism and their families feel welcome. People with autism value time and space. A welcoming approach, and the willingness to allow a little more time, will go a long way. If there is room for some quiet space – not always possible – that can help. Different venues will have different approaches, and that is where help and advice from Alliance charities comes in.
Venues that take part in the project will receive an autism-friendly sticker and will be listed on Autism Connect – the online community for people with autism, which is being rolled out nationally with Department of Health funding.
If you would like more information about the Autism Charter and to find out about the free training available for your organisation please visit www.autism-connect.org.uk
This is the UK’s first free social network for people with autism and their families. The site includes a Service Directory, where users can rate services and venues, using the power of social media to identify and recommend autism-friendly venue using a Trip Advisor-style rating system.