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World Autism Acceptance day 

This year is the 60th anniversary year of World Autism Acceptance Day, a day to raise awareness and acceptance for those on the autism spectrum and create a society that works for autistic people.  

What is autism?  

Autism is a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopment disorders, meaning that the development of the brain and wider nervous system in people living with autism differs from typical neurodevelopment. 

Therefore, the way autistic people think and process information is different to most people within the typical population. 

People who are on the autism spectrum are also vulnerable to mental health problems such as high stress and anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and mood disorders.  

Autism can have a range of signs, and these can differ between boys and girls and between children and adults. The NHS has a useful overview of signs of autism both as an adult and child 

If you are not sure where to go for support if you care for someone who is autistic, our article on caring for someone who is Autistic is a good place to start and gives you an overview of local services in Wiltshire.

Parent and carer training 

If you are new to your caring role, are supporting someone who has recently been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum or just want to find out more about how you can support someone who is autistic there are a range of online courses and information that can help.  

Gina Davies Autism Centre: Offers a range of live online sessions either 1:1 or in groups.  

Sign: Have a useful downloadable booklet that gives an overview of information to gather when a child is diagnosed with autism.  

Independent Provider of Special Education Advice: Offers free and independent legally-based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They also provide trainingon the SEND legal framework to parents and carers.  

Finding autism-friendly support, activities and venues 

Across Wiltshire many organisations host autism-friendly events, which can help the person you care for still get access to fun activities and services. We have listed a selection below:  

Wiltshire Autism Hub supports individuals 18+ years, with a diagnosis of Autism, living in Wiltshire. They provide direct assistance to help you with particular issues you might be facing, such as housing, or to help you achieve a specific goal, such as applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). They offer 1-2-1 peer support, peer group support and travel support. The hub was created to provide signposting to further advice and guidance to support individuals, families, parents, carers and professionals.

Wiltshire Parent Carer Council has various events for parents and carers, including consultation events, information fairs, training courses, coffee mornings and more.

You can also find a range of short break activities and other events for children and young people.

Autism friendly libraries – Wiltshire Council aim to make their libraries as friendly and accessible as possible and to support customers who may need extra help when they are visiting. They have created a Guide to using the library (gi.ui.mediatype.odt) [628KB] (opens new window) in Wiltshire, if you are planning a visit, or if someone is anxious about coming to the library for the first time.

Cinemas offer autism-friendly screenings 

A range of major cinema companies hold regular monthly autism-friendly screenings in selected cinemas across the UK. Changes include: 

  • Lights will be kept on
  • Volume will be lowered 
  • No advertisements or trailers 
  • Customers can bring their own food 

Many shops offer a quiet hour 

Supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and Lidl have introduced quieter sessions where lighting and noise are reduced. This is also true of some shopping centres, so look up your local centre to see if this is something they offer.  

If you are on the autism spectrum or care for someone who is, we can help. For information, support, and advice phone us on 0800 181 4118 or email