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World Autism Acceptance Week: An opportunity to celebrate, share and widen support for autistic people around the world.

0​4 April 2024

In celebration of World Autism awareness week, TSA's Charlotte Downing , our Membership and Engagement Manager, has shared her personal experiences and thoughts around how we can all contribute towards a community that enables Autistic people to thrive.

C​harlotte Downing, Membership and Engagement Manager

World Autism Awareness week is an opportunity to celebrate, share and widen support for autistic people around the world. As referenced in our recent State of the Sector report, 48% of responders said they have plans to support more autistic people over the coming 12 months and whilst that support may look different for each person, it is vital if we are to build an inclusive future for autistic adults.

As a parent of an autistic young adult, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that autism can present, and whilst it’s taken many years of work to ensure his needs are met, I have also seen how everyday technology can break down barriers and offer chances to learn the skills he will need for independent adult life, to enable him to hold down friendships, find hobbies he loves, discover ways to access education and even to travel independently. I’ve learned that technology can offer me the capacity to step back and trust that he will be protected, simultaneously giving Ollie the opportunity to step forward towards adulthood and discover his own independence.

From technology to help keep people safe, active, hydrated and independent to technology that helps access education, employment, social situations and hobbies, technology enabled care has the capacity to support and empower autistic individuals, to build confidence, build independence and contribute to wellbeing in ways that can last a lifetime. Personalising the technology has the ability to allow people to build skills and to develop at their own pace.

We know that there is a significant employment gap for autistic adults, and that provision and access to education is often a challenge for younger autistic people. We also know, however, that with the right scaffolding, the challenges that autism can bring don’t need to define or limit a person’s future. Building an environment that supports, enables and empowers individuals isn’t easy, but it is possible, and should be a piece of work we all contribute to, every week of every year. The challenge for social care should be to provide a balance of personal support and technology enabled living, being led by outcomes rather than the tech, and always taking a personalised approach.

So let’s use Autism Awareness Week to acknowledge the part we all have to play in developing a community of practice we can all contribute to, and building a future that enables autistic people to thrive and to design their own futures. The right support, the right environment and the right encouragement has helped my autistic teenager to open doors to opportunities which seemed impossible a few short years ago, and I am hopeful that TSA can collaborate with organisations to embed technology enabled living across all autism services and continue to enhance the lives of everyone drawing on services.


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