On 18 July we were joined in Parliament to celebrate the Houses of Parliament achieving our Autism Friendly Award.

AFA Awards

Our Director of External Affrais Jane Harris presented the award to our Vice President, John Bercow, who is Speaker of the House of Commons, alongside Cheryl Gillan, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, Maxine Albert from the House of Commons Diversity & Inclusion Team, as well as Carrie Grant from BBC One’s The One Show and her daughter Talia.

The celebration was attended by MPS and Peers from across Parliament who are supporting the National Autistic Society’s work to increase public understanding of autism and make the UK more autism-friendly.

The Houses of Parliament receive many thousands of visitors every year and the Autism Friendly Award has been given in recognition of all the work the Diversity & Inclusion Team have done to improve the experience for autistic people and their families.

Frontline staff have been trained, a huge amount of consultation with autistic people carried out and an extensive set of guidance specifically for autistic visitors has been created (and can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/access/guidance-for-visitors-with-autism).

Giving the award, Jane Harris said:

“We are delighted to celebrate the Houses of Parliament receiving our Autism Friendly Award.

It is a really important signal to the more than 1 in 100 autistic people in the UK that they are an important part of our democracy, that their political leaders want to hear from them and that their voice deserves to be heard in Parliament.

I hope you will be able to support us to take the good work done in this place across the UK so that autistic people everywhere feel welcome and less isolated.”

John Bercow said:

“I am incredibly proud to be accepting this award for the Houses of Parliament in recognition of all the hard work that has been done to make the experiences of autistic visitors and their families better. 

I know that too many autistic people are shut out of opportunities to enjoy the same experiences as other people take for granted and I believe that Parliament should be helping lead the way in making the UK more autism-friendly.”

To find out more about our Autism Friendly Award, including how you can encourage businesses in your communities to start working towards it, please visit www.autism.org.uk/autismfriendly.