In the UK, there are approximately 700,000 people affected by autism. That’s over 1 in 100 of us. The National Autistic Society’s work is centred around making a better world for autistic people. They do this by raising funds in order to provide information and support, as well as pioneering services.
Autism is a disability that hinders a person’s development with respect to the way they communicate with, or relate to other people, as well as how they perceive and experience the world around them. It can also affect one’s learning ability, and cause mental health issues. Autism isn’t a sickness or disease, and therefore cannot be cured.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All people with autism share certain difficulties, but the level at which they will affect them is different.
Life at school for a child with autism can be very difficult as they can feel very isolated, unable to create the typical connection children have with their friends. National Autistic Society work within mainstream schools as well as further education, and are there for anybody that needs specialist support.
The charity is working in conjunction with the Cullum Family Trust and the Surrey Council to develop purpose-designed specialist centres in four mainstream secondary schools in Surrey. These centres will provide specialist support from trained staff - this will include things like learning in small groups and therapies, and a calm and quiet setting to retreat to. Each centre will be run by the schools themselves, but in line with the
National Autistic Society’s methodology to autism-specific education. The charity will also provide school-to-school support, support with recruitment, induction training and more.
Work within the community
The National Autistic Society has centres that provides bespoke services to meet specific needs of each person they work with. These services are designed to encourage adults to learn new skills and become as independent as possible and they are comfortable with. They’re open 7 days a week and open at times that maximise the opportunity for adults to attend.
Many services are offered at each centre, including:
Modular learning programme - this is an outcome-led service in which a personalised outcome plan is developed and used alongside Support
Plans that is suited to an individual working towards their personal outcomes.
Supper Club - where individuals are supported to make a light meal and sit together in a friendly, sociable environment
Weekend day experiences
One-to-one support sessions
Donations are vital in ensuring that the National Autistic Society can keep their centre doors open and provide the vital help and services and help even more people.
How donations help
£5 per month will help a worried parent get advice and information from a Helpline Advisor after a child’s diagnosis
£10 per month could help a parent receive life-changing support from services like the Parent to Parent line.
£20 per month will help the charity campaign across the UK to make sure that more people understand autism. A shift in the public’s understanding will go a long way to helping autistic people feel more comfortable and lead the lives they choose.
Other ways to get involved
Aside from Charity of the Year partnerships, a great way to get your company involved in a slightly different, but progressive way, would be to commit to becoming an autism-friendly organisation. It doesn't mean expensive and extensive training courses for staff, or alterations to the office layout - small changes make a huge difference. The charity has worked with many public venues that hosted autism-friendly performances such as The Lion King and Wicked.
The National Autistic Society is grateful for anyone that can donate their time to help with their work. They need volunteers for their offices, school and other services - anything from being a helpline supporter, to becoming a school bus driver or an event-cheerer. For a full list of opportunities in your area, head over to their Volunteer page of the website.