An Autism-Friendly Community

Imagine a place where people with autism and their families eat at restaurants and feel welcome, employers embrace diversity. Advocates say placing individuals with autism alongside other team members helps to foster creativity and project innovation, libraries, parks, and museums open their doors to differences, shopping is a pleasant experience for all, and students know how to support their friend who acts differently than they do, (a new study finds that children with autism spectrum disorders are bullied nearly five times as often as their typically developing peers).

Individuals with autism and their families face discrimination, isolation and exclusion because of misperceptions about their behaviours and abilities. Let’s change that together!

Being Autism-Friendly means “being understanding and flexible in interpersonal conversation, public programs and public settings.” For someone on the autism spectrum, being in an autism-friendly environment means they will be have a manageable degree of sensory stimuli along with adaptions that help them engage their environment better; it also means interactions with others that are supportive and non-judgmental of differences, helping them better able to relate to others.

It’s a community that treats everyone with respect and dignity and values each person’s unique contribution by employing people with autism and other disabilities, structuring recreational activities so all can participate, providing appropriate and inclusive housing opportunities, supporting academic and social success in schools, and empowering people with autism and other disabilities to pursue their dreams.

What is the benefit to being Autism-Friendly?

Autism-Friendly places embrace neurodiversity, the concept that neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. Studies show that diversity enriches all aspects of a community’s life, including education, housing, cultural, and business opportunities. These aspects of a community’s life enhance economic strengths because we all win when everyone gets to share in our nation’s promises.

What do we do to become Autism-Friendly?

Through educational programs, training, and awareness activities, we will help the community understand how to identify, interact, adapt and support individuals with autism and their families.

 

[Messenger September 2017 p.21]

For more information please contact Anne Brackley:
email coordinator@springdale.org.au or
phone 0407 529 205 – I’d love to hear from you.