A woman smiling at a kiosk.
Our Support Workers in Neath have made their own replica McDonald’s drive-thru, to help the autistic people they support get through the coronavirus lockdown.

The creative team, from the National Autistic Society Cymru’s Glamorgan House Autism Centre, made their own handmade uniforms and managed to get some packaging from McDonald’s stores to create an authentic experience.

Staff have been trying to come up with creative ways to maintain structure and routine and thereby reduce anxiety. While local restaurants and takeaways have had to close down, they simply created their own.

Glamorgan House is a place where autistic people can come for support, to socialise and to learn new skills. People who come to the centre can choose from a range of vocational opportunities, all of which are designed to help them experience community-based activities.

Nick Haake, National Autistic Society Cymru Services Manager, said:

“Many of the autistic people we support can feel anxiety about change or unexpected events. This is particularly the case at the moment, with the ongoing disruption to people’s lives because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The staff at Glamorgan House and across all of our services have been amazing during this difficult period and have taken extraordinary steps to limit the impact that unexpected changes are having on the people they are supporting.

"In the same way communities are pulling together to support each other during this unprecedented crisis, we’d encourage everyone to find out about autism and to consider how coronavirus is affecting autistic people and how they can help. There are things we can all do, including communicating clearly, giving people time to respond and giving as much notice as possible about any changes.”

Abbie Williams, a Senior Support Worker at Glamorgan House, said:

“We came up with the idea to create our own drive-thru and rang around the nearby McDonald’s restaurants which were closing to request some packaging, which they gladly provided. We even created handmade uniforms,

“As soon as we began serving up meals there were smiling faces all around and orders were flying in.”

Wendy Brisland, a Team Leader at Glamorgan House, said:

“We really want to help keep routines and structure for the people we support and so have decided to choose a different theme each week. We’ve already held an ice-cream parlour and pick ’n mix sweet stand, and hopefully this week we will have a hotdog stand, too.”

Find out more about autism and coronavirus by visiting autism.org.uk/coronavirus