Autistic people and their families joined our ambassador, TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, to learn about Scotland’s wildlife and participate in a fun-filled day at Callendar Wood in Falkirk.

Chris, who received a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome when he was in his 40s, spoke to volunteers and staff about our work in Scotland, and the help and support we offer. He then donned our unique virtual reality headset and experienced how an everyday setting like a shopping centre can be overwhelming to an autistic person experiencing sensory overload.

We use the cutting edge technology to increase public understanding of autism, after it was revealed that almost half (44 percent) of autistic people living in Scotland sometimes don’t leave the house because they are worried about how others will react to them.

His visit was part of a free BioBlitz event which gave autistic people and their families the opportunity to learn about all forms of wildlife from flies, fungi and moths, to mammals, and birds and butterflies.

Fiona McGrevey, Branches and Volunteering Development Manager at the National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “Chris is a huge supporter of our work and I’m so pleased that he was able to try our virtual reality experience for the very first time.

“It’s a very immersive and impactful experience which I believe reinforces our commitment to finding innovative ways to raise public understanding of autism in Scotland.”

Chris Packham said: “I’m very pleased to be an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and to be able to help increase understanding of autism. 

“The National Autistic Society’s virtual reality experience is truly superb and provides an excellent insight into the sensory overload that can occur in difficult environments.”

You can watch our 360 degree virtual reality film, and feel what it might be like to experience sensory overload by clicking here

Watch the film