As part of the Derby Branch of The National Autistic Society we were invited to go along to Severn Trent Water in Derby.
The company had decided to use Autism Awareness Week to take time out on their lunch hour and learn a little bit about Autism.
They were presented with a talk given by our branch officer and together we watched the Too Much Information video created by the NAS which gives people an idea of the sensory overload someone may experience when entering a shopping centre. The staff also had access to the 3D visual reality goggles which gave an even greater experience. This was the first time I had seen the goggles supplied by the NAS and we had to chuckle as when the goggles arrived there were no instructions so we all wondered whether this was a further experience of Autism where you just had to get into someone's mind and just work it out. I know my son can just ignore instructions and put things together sometimes and me? Well I just ignore instructions if they are there anyway, I'm too impatient to read them.
After my colleague had finished I then spoke about my experience of being a parent to someone on the spectrum. My first real talk, to public, real people! It was nice to be able to give my account and we did have other parents of children with Autism in the room so I think it may have helped them to hear from someone else who they could associate with, I hope so anyway. I hope it gave everyone an idea of not only how Autism affects someone with the condition but those around them and to allow inclusion in different situations. That's what the idea of raising awareness is all about and as the NAS say 'until everyone understands'.
I enjoyed my time there and thank all the staff and everyone involved who organised it. It was a very positive experience and felt empowering as a parent. If we can help to provide environments where people can understand the traits and quirks of Autism, certain behaviours and allow people to process information in an attempt to see themselves through education and find employment, wouldn't that be just great? Reassuring for someone like me too, after all I'm going to have to leave this world and leave my son with his Autism behind which I know, not just for me but for a lot of parents and carers this is a huge worry. I would like to think I could leave him in a world that understands him and would care, like I have for all of his life so far.
If you would like anymore information on how you can help raise awareness go to www.autism.org.uk and if you would like any information from the Derby Branch of the NAS email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading and I'll catch you tomorrow for some telly talk with Pass the Remote Sunday.
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Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.