Autistic people can get overloaded by everything around them. It’s like all the senses are firing, all at once. Like there’s no filter. Like they’re getting too much information.

Over 99% of people have heard of autism, but only 16% of autistic people feel the public understand them. That’s why three years ago we created Too Much Information. It’s time we challenged the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that mean that 79% of autistic people feel socially isolated. It’s time we help the public to understand autism, the person, and the change they can make.

Our first Too Much Information film

With that in mind, we created our first film in 2016, featuring 11-year-old Alex Marshall, to help launch our campaign. Our first film went viral – over 56 million people viewed it on social media, with over one million also sharing it. Our partnership with The Guardian saw over 400,000 visits and a 26% rise in autism awareness.

Over 17,000 people put their mark on our Too Much Information map to show they care about autism. 8,000 people in intu shopping centres across the UK tried our our virtual reality film.

Too Much Information in the workplace

After looking at how autistic people can get too much information in public places, we then moved our focus to getting too much information in the workplace. Only 16% of autistic people are in full-time employment. We talked to autistic people and found out they felt that employers don’t see their ability, but rather their autism.

We wanted to work with them, their colleagues, employers, and the Government to get autistic people the jobs they deserve. Over 29,000 people signed our petition to close the autism employment gap, which we presented to Penny Mordaunt MP, the Minister for Disabilities, at Westminster in March 2017. We continue to lobby behind the scenes to help autistic people to get the jobs they deserve.

Our second Too Much Information film 

For the second year of our campaign, through the story of school girl Holly, we wanted people to understand that autistic people need extra time to process information. 6.2 million people watched Holly’s film and from that were able to target them to understand what small changes they could make in their behaviour to reduce overload for autistic people – which is why we encouraged people to take a pledge.

Autism Hour

In October 2017, we held the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, the world’s biggest mass-participation quiet shopping hour, which saw almost 5,000 retailers hold over 8,000 hours across the UK. 

To build on the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour and along with all the individual pledges people have taken, we’ve been supporting businesses to make those small changes which make a big difference to autistic people. We do this through our Autism Friendly Award.

Our next film

For our third year we’ve focused on the story of Saskia and her experiences of public transport, again supporting people to understand autism and what they can do to help.

So, whether you’re at the shops, on public transport, at work or out with friends, a change as simple as using clear language, having a bit of patience, or avoiding last minute changes can really help. 

Find out more