Tuesday, 5 April 2016
Autism: Adults would like great days out too please
I do a lot of work on autism access. I've been honoured to work with a good few of the historic building charities and groups across the country, advising quietly in the background. Helping them gain autism access awards. Helping them increase their visitor numbers. Helping autistic people of all ages to know what's ahead, so they can plan their energy levels, and really enjoy the day.
But, especially as an autistic cancer patient and a full-time business owner, my time is limited. And I get really tired sometimes.
As nice as it is to do the pioneering work for places, I love actually having a day out somewhere new. Same as almost everyone else does. A day where I can enjoy myself, relax, and know that I am going to be within safe sensory limits.
So few places have information for autistic adults. Just so few.
More have information for autistic children. These often include a 'fun pack' involving drawing and toys. And a family room where parents/carers and their autistic children can go. Sometimes a play area with swings or a nice slide.
These are good things....for children.
But they're a bit of an inappropriate thing to offer the MD of a firm of Chartered Surveyors.
I'm not sure that the parents of an autistic child are going to be thrilled if I join little Sam on the see-saw or on the soft play area. They might be even less thrilled if it was a couple of (say) autistic male rugby players in their 30s. Nor am I going to be consoled with a squishy toy.
Most autistic people are adults. Male, female, of all ages. Giving me a set of materials designed for a six year old is not appropriate.
Please, if you are setting up access for a disability, don't assume that everyone is a child.
You wouldn't dream of making that assumption for wheelchair access. Nor for those with visual impairment.
Please don't do it for autism either.
Plenty of us to ask about good resources for autistic people. We're very happy to help, or direct you to others who can.
Thank you for listening.