Daniel McHardy with Shona WardEast Ayrshire was rocked by an autism-friendly music festival on Wednesday 7 August. 

Rock by the River was held at our charity’s supported living service, Catrine Bank, which supports more than 30 autistic people to live independent lives. The service helps autistic people develop essential skills, such as self-care, cooking and budgeting to enable them to get out and about in their local community. 

Set in the garden of our five hectare site, autistic people we support and their families enjoyed a festival inspired afternoon that featured live music performances by staff, lawn games, and a BBQ. 

Nick Ward, Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “We want to give the autistic people we support the opportunity to have new and exciting experiences. For many people, attending a music festival is a summer highlight so we decided to hold one in our own back garden! That’s one of the benefits of being surrounded by nearly five hectares of beautiful countryside.”

In order to ensure the autistic audience was able to enjoy the festival, we provided a quiet and sensory area, and helped them to prepare in advance using ‘social stories’ - pictorial descriptions of what to expect, the benefits of attending, and things that could be challenging. 

Find out more about our supported living service at Catrine Bank.