Our Helen Allison School in Kent hosted an event recently (23 February) to raise awareness of autism, and the benefits of autistic people can bring to businesses, among the community.
 
It was attended by around 50 parents, friends, representatives of local businesses and local politicians, including Cllr John Burrell and Eija Burrell, Mayor and Mayoress of Dartford, and Cllr Greta Goatley, Mayor of Gravesham. Also in attendance was Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough council, Jonathon Hawkes Shadow Leader, Cllr Avtar Sandhu MBE and Cllr Mandy Garford.
 
They heard a series of presentations about the potential of autistic people and learnt about our charity’s recent employment campaign, which included a survey suggesting that just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid work. 
 
Guests also tried out our virtual reality experience, which aims to show the public what it might be like to be autistic and experience ‘too much information’.

There was also an opportunity to speak with local businesses about employing autistic people and a number of adults on the autism spectrum were present and available to answer questions.

Our Helen Allison School opened in 1968 and is recognised by Ofsted as Outstanding in Education and Care. It currently provides primary, secondary and post-16 support to over 70 young people on the autism spectrum. The school is spread over three sites and offers both day and residential services.
 
Susan Conway, Principal of our Helen Allison School, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people come to learn about autism and the potential of our students. And I’m grateful to Tim Cook, our Family Liaison Officer, and wider colleagues within our charity for organising this."

People on the autism spectrum have got so much to offer and can have strengths such as tenacity and thinking differently and I’m proud we could share this message.

“With a little understanding and small adjustments to the workplace, people on the autism spectrum can be a real asset to businesses across the UK.”