World Autism Awareness Week is celebrated this week (26th March to 2nd April 2018.) It is a great chance for everyone – including leisure and tourism businesses and charities – to raise money and awareness of autism for The National Autistic Society.

We are holding our own sponsored virtual 7K challenge with a 7K run, swim and cycle; however, you do not need to be quite as active. You could use our hints and tips below to support the autistic visitors to your business or charity.

Creating an Autism Friendly Setting




BEFORE
  • Marketing – ensure your promotional materials, social media and website let people know you offer an autistic friendly setting and how
  • Website – ensure that information is clearly signposted and and downloadable and offer a FAQ
  • Maps – offer maps showing areas of potential sensory overload (noisy areas/unexpected noises/extreme visuals), quiet areas and ensure that these are up-to-date
  • Trails – create downloadable trails that are autism friendly
  • Specialists – work with local and national autism societies and groups to develop your inclusivity
  • Training – have all staff conduct autism friendly training – not just those working directly with people
  • Information – through visual stories, maps and information about the setting, let visitors know what to expect

DURING
  • Champions – make it clear through badges – or another visual – who they can approach that has an understanding of their needs
  • Quiet Sessions – offer quiet sessions and days where people can avoid sensory overload – such as noise and crowds
  • Quiet Space – offer spaces where people can escape from sensory overloads
  • Warnings – through maps and warnings ensure people are pre-warned about visual or auditory displays
  • Packs – offer packs with autistic friendly activities and objects – including ear defenders
  • Trails – have trails that will enhance experience and understanding but not over stimulate
  • Communicate – ensure that communication supports inclusivity – e.g. using PECS

AFTER
  • Evaluate – try to obtain feedback from autistic visitors and their families and friends – how can you improve?
  • Continue – continue to improve and develop your offer using feedback and the good practice of others
  • Partnerships – using partnerships with other settings and community groups can enhance your offer and give you ideas that will make a positive impact on your visitors

 

 

USEFUL WEBSITES
  • www.autism.org.uk
  • www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk
  • www.autismaware.co.uk

 

If you would like to know more about how to improve your setting and make it more inclusive to all the websites above have many posts, downloadable materials and useful guidelines.
Alternatively, we can support you with our inclusivity training – e-mail training@excitingeducation.co.uk

 

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