World Autism Week – blog by Michael McEwan

Posted: March 23rd, 2017


I think it is important to have awareness weeks like World Autism Week , I have a disability but not autism , and I do think more people understand disabilities when there  are awareness days, weeks or months.

There is a lot of good work going on in Scotland on autism awareness, like Young Scotland’s Got Talent , an event for young people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum (aged 14 – 24 ) who want to work when they leave school or college.

Interested individuals and professionals working in the field are also welcome but priority will be give to young people and their families.  In previous years everyone who has taken part has said the events were amazing, and they also said that they learned a lot of useful information about finding a job.

There are many young people who want to work, they just need some help and advice about finding and keeping a job.  The conference is a fun way of giving people the information that they want, and supporting them to reach their goals.

It is really important that people get the right help and support in their local areas, I think we need to make sure that everyone who wants to work has access to the relevant employment services working for people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autism spectrum.  The organisations who jointly run this event are Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) and Values Into Action Scotland (VIAS).

This campaign was launched back in 2010 and since then they have covered all of Scotland, I have been to a few of the road shows and they are very motivating, structured and focused on best employment support and advice for all in attendance.

In January the National Autistic Society Scotland helped to launch a relaxed performance of the pantomime Cinderella in the Kings Theatre Glasgow.

So what happened at this event ?  Well there was a less formal atmosphere in the auditorium with a relaxed attitude to noise , and house lights were kept on low.  Lighting , special effects and background noise was softened to reduce anxiety.  The audience members were free to move around and used the designated chill out areas to relax.

With recent statistics supplied by National Autistic Society indicating that 700,000 people in UK are on autistic spectrum, that’s over 1 in 100 of population, and autism being what is termed as a “hidden disability”, it’s important that awareness of the condition continues to be high priority going forward.

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