Liverpool Autism Champions

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Campaigners in Liverpool are spearheading a national campaign to make the UK more autism friendly.  They hope the city will become one of the UK’s first autism-friendly cities.

Autism Adventures

Community Business Enterprise that offers families living with autism, leisure and play opportunities in an autism friendly setting and exclusive use of activities during school holidays.

Autism Together

Offers specialist support services for families and children, residential care, respite care and supported living and a wide range of day services.

Liverpool Chamber

We are passionate about why we are here; to ensure that Liverpool businesses are successful and contribute to the region’s social and economic wealth and prosperity.

Conntect to Autism

A Department of Health-funded scheme being rolled out nationally by the Autism Alliance, a network of 18 autism charities. The scheme aims to increase awareness and understanding of autism right across the UK.

How does my organisation become an Autism Champion?

To become an Autism Champion an organisation makes a public commitment to train its staff in autism awareness. This includes how to recognise the signs that someone may  have autism and how to handle challenging behaviour.  Champions are also taught about the different ways people with autism can choose to communicate.  For example, if someone is non-verbal, they may communicate via a voice app on an iPad.

Champions will also be encouraged to make small adjustments to their premises to improve access to those with autism:  they may advertise a quiet space, for people experiencing anxiety, or agree to clearer signage or less glaring lighting.

Who are our Autism Champions?

What does the term autism-friendly city mean?

According to Autism Together and Autism Adventures, an autism-friendly city should be one where those with the condition are able to:

  • Travel on public transport
  • Shop for food and clothes
  • Take part in sports and leisure activities
  • Visit cultural and tourist institutions
  • Eat in restaurants
  • Be supported appropriately by healthcare and emergency services

The partners are working with autism professionals across the UK to develop nationally accepted criteria.

This regional project is backed by Connect to Autism, a Department of Health-funded scheme being rolled out nationally by the Autism Alliance, a network of 18 autism charities.

The scheme aims to increase awareness and understanding of autism right across the UK.

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Robin Bush

Chief Executive of Autism Together

“We’re incredibly ambitious for Liverpool. What we’re seeking to do isn’t easy and won’t happen overnight. We’re currently working with colleagues in the autism community to develop a nationwide set of criteria to define what we mean by an autism friendly city.

At the very least, we believe an autism friendly city should enable those with autism to confidently access community infrastructure such as shopping centres, tourist attractions and public transport.”

Julie Simpson

Founder of Autism Adventures and a driving force behind the Liverpool campaign

“The reason I want to do something is I want my son Joe, who is 12, to have somewhere to play, eat or shop. I have had everything said by people over the years about Joe.  Someone told me once that he needed a good smack. The only way to change people’s perception is by educating them and raising awareness of the condition.

“It’s so rewarding seeing business being open to the concept of being autism friendly. The response has been amazing. The thing that always drives me forward to do more is the thought I won’t always be here to have Joe’s back. It’s my job as his mum to do all I can to leave a world that is ready for him. My motto is that I wouldn’t change my son for the world but I will change the world for my son.”

Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

“Our city councillors are  working hard to make Liverpool a fair and inclusive city and we’re doing all we can to support this very worthwhile project as we are all wanting Liverpool to head in the same direction, with equal community access available to all.”

Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for Leisure, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This is a fantastic project and I’m delighted our Lifestyles Centres are playing a key role in Liverpool’s drive to be autism-friendly city in every aspect.

“Our fitness centres attract people from a whole host of diverse backgrounds, many with specific needs, and we want to make sure their Lifestyles experience is a positive one, encouraging them to keep active and continue to make healthy choices in life.”