Autism Awareness Week 2020!

Autism Awareness Week runs from Monday 20 March 2020 to Sunday 5th April 2020 and is a yearly campaign held to raise much needed awareness and understanding of the disability.

Autism is a lifelong disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. There are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

As you may know Harrogate Skills for Living Centre (HS4LC) is a charity working for the benefit of adults with learning disabilities and autism in Harrogate. We always like to show our support for World Autism Awareness Week as we know how important it is to increase awareness and understanding.

Unfortunately because of the current worldwide situation with Covid-19 our day centre facilities are closed so we were unable to proceed with our plans to celebrate World Autism Awareness Week but we thought we would throw it back to last year and share some of our photos from the Autism Awareness bake sale 2019!

Last year the National Autistic Society ran a survey across more than 7,000 autistic people and their families to ask them how public attitudes towards autism and autistic people have changed over the past 4 years.

While the situation seems to be improving, there are still more than 60% autistic people that think that people they come across don’t understand how autism can affect someone’s behaviour.

So the National Autistic Society asked autistic people what are the key things that they would like the public to know. Below are the top 5: 

Autistic people may:

  1. Feel anxiety about changes or unexpected events

  2. Be under or over sensitive to sound, smells, light, taste and touch. This is called sensory sensitivity.

  3. Need time to process information, like questions or instructions

  4. Face high levels of anxiety in social situations

  5. Have difficulties communicating and interacting with others

Any of these or a combination could lead to a meltdown or shutdown. We know that the public want to help, but they aren’t always sure what they can do.

So with the help of thousands of autistic people and their families, here are some handy tips for the public to follow from the National Autistic Society:

  1. Give people as much notice as possible about changes to plans or unexpected events.

  2. Provide a quiet space to retreat to when needed

  3. Take the time to explain things clearly and give people time to process and respond

  4. When arranging social events give plenty of notice and as much information of what to expect as possible

  5. Do not rely on body language or facial expressions as some autistic people can struggle with this.

For more information you can visit the National Autistic Society website.