Autistic people & families launch Nottinghamshire branch of National Autistic Society

Local autistic people and their families are launching the volunteer-run Nottinghamshire branch of the National Autistic Society at a special event at the Nottingham Council House on Thursday 7 April. There will be speeches from local dignitaries including Lord Mayor Cllr Jackie Morris and Lilian Greenwood MP, and songs, poetry and comedy from autistic people.

The event, which takes place during World Autism Awareness Week (2-8 April), is being held in conjunction with Nottingham City Council, which is launching a dedicated website for autistic people and their families in Nottingham.

The branch started out as Autistic Nottingham and East Midlands, a small self-help and campaigning group. They’ve been working with the National Autistic Society to expand and are now becoming a branch of the charity so they can support more autistic people and their families.

The branch will continue to run an adult social group and are creating a second group for parents which they hope to launch in early October. They will also continue to represent autistic people and their families as part of the City Council’s Co-production Group and SPLAT Board (Nottingham City Learning Disability and Autism Partnership Board) and to work with other organisations which share their goals and ethos. The volunteers will also be able to provide information about autism and signpost members to the relevant support services.

It will also campaign to improve public understanding of autism. The autistic musicians, poet and comedian performing at the launch will showcase the wide range of skills people on the autism spectrum have and encourage the public to view autism more positively, particularly employers.

It will also campaign to improve public understanding of autism. The autistic musicians, poet and comedian performing at the launch will showcase the wide range of skills people on the autism spectrum have and encourage the public to view autism more positively, particularly employers.

Being autistic can mean someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different way to other people. More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum but none of them will experience autism in the exact same way – some people are skilled in certain areas while others find social situations and change such a challenge that they face almost unbearable levels of anxiety.

Being autistic can mean someone sees, hears and feels the world in a different way to other people. More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum but none of them will experience autism in the exact same way – some people are skilled in certain areas while others find social situations and change such a challenge that they face almost unbearable levels of anxiety.

Nikki Stevenson, Chair of the Nottinghamshire branch of the National Autistic Society, said: “This is a milestone for our community and the first step to improving understanding of autism and support for autistic people in the area.

“We’ve been working hard for a number of months to make this happen and hope lots of people will come along and help us mark this moment. We’ll have great entertainment from autistic people including singer Lauren Lovejoy, musician Jaydn Hansford, comedian Paul Wady and poet Peter Macpherson.

“We began as a small self-help group, and, through the wonderful support and encouragement of Self Help Nottingham, our membership and our influence grew very quickly. We’re now in a position to expand, thanks to the National Autistic Society. We’ll continue to provide the same support we did as Autistic Nottingham and East Midlands, but we’ll now be able to reach more people and to redouble our efforts to increase local understanding of autism.

“Every autistic person is different. It brings strengths and challenges but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives and achieve great things.”

The launch event takes place on Thursday 7 April 2016 7.30 – 9.30pm at the Ballroom, Council House, Market Square, Nottingham NG1 2DT.

If you’d like to attend or find more information about the branch, autism or World Autism Awareness Week please email Nas.Nottinghamshire@nas.org.uk or visit www.autism.org.uk


 

The National Autistic Society

  • The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Founded in 1962, it provides information, support and pioneering services, and campaigns for a better world for people on the autism spectrum.
  • The charity has over 100 branches and groups across the UK, all run entirely by volunteers.
  • The aim of all of branches and groups is to support local autistic people and their families.
  • What can be offered depends on how much time the volunteers are able to give, but activities may include providing information, raising awareness, supporting families and adults, campaigning and fundraising.
  • To find out more about autism or the National Autistic Society and the work of its branches, visit www.autism.org.uk.

What is autism?

  • Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
  • More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK
  • Every person on the autism spectrum is different. It can present some serious challenges – but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives.
  • Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may:

o    Be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult

o    Find social situations and change a challenge, sometimes leading to extreme levels of anxiety

o    Experience a ‘meltdown’ if overwhelmed by anxiety or sensory overload

o    Benefit from extra time to process and respond to communication.

  • Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

 

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