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World Autism Awareness Week 29th March to 4th April

29th March 2021

About 1 in 100 people are autistic spectrum, in the UK there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children. So the chances are at Futures you will be working with colleagues, customers and also have friends and family members who are on the autistic spectrum. This week is World Autism Awareness Week and we would like to take the opportunity to promote understanding so you can better support people with autism.

 

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world (National Autistic Society) . Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some people will go through life needing very little support, others will need lots.

Autistic people may find it hard to communicate, to understand how people think or feel, they may find bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful and uncomfortable. They may get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events, and find it difficult cope with change and uncertainty. Often people on autistic spectrum will need more time to process and understand information, they may struggle meeting new people and they may have repetitive behaviours and do and think the same things over.

It is important to recognise though that being autistic does not stop someone having a good life, it does not mean autistic people can’t make friends, have relationships, or a job. It might just mean they need extra help. Indeed, there are many autistic people who have achieved great success e.g Anthony Hopkins, Bill Gates, Lewis Carroll. Recently, Greta Thunberg stated “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And - given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower”

 

What can you do to support people on the autistic spectrum?

  • Give clear instructions and put important points in writing for clarification.
  • Don’t rely on body language or facial expressions to communicate
  • Recognise and understand that meeting new people and experiencing new situations can cause anxiety.
  • If someone becomes anxious or agitated give space and time to recover.
  • Give people time to process information and check out understanding. Offering support if needed
  • Understand that noise, bright lights, strong smells can be overwhelming and cause distress.
  • Understand that uncertainty and unexpected change can cause anxiety so offer support and give as much notice as possible when change occurs. 

 

How Can Futures specialist careers coaches help?

Futures have a number of specialist career coaches who can work with young people aged 16 to 25 with learning difficulties and disabilities, including young people on the autistic spectrum to help then find and maintain employment, education and training opportunities. Our specialist careers coaches will offer on going and intensive support to help young people progress and overcome barriers and develop life skills. If you would like further information, please contact Esther Murray (Nottingham City) or Darren Scott (Notts County) or to make a referral please email IntensiveSupport.Referrals@futuresforyou.com

Here are Sally Corbett, Vicky Emery and Jae Torrington taking about how they can support young people with disabilities and learning difficulties find work. 

 

For further information, here are a number useful resources:

www.autism.org.uk

www.autismeastmidlands.org.uk

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/autism/ - including information on getting a diagnosis

https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/employment/employing-autistic-people/employers- . Helping employers understand the needs of people with autism.

Young people tell their story about what its like having autism https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/what-we-do/awareness/world-autism-awareness-week-2021

Medical Story: Asperger’s and Me-   Chris Peckham’s Documentary about living with Aspergers      

1800 Seconds on Autism   https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06sdq0x

TED Talk https://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds

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