Our latest film in our Too Much Information campaign, starring Saskia Lupin, focuses on the impact unexpected changes can have on autistic people.

More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum - that’s around 700,000 people in the UK. Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and may struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can leave them feeling overwhelmed, particularly in busy public places. 

There are many ways you can help stop an autistic person from feeling overwhelmed on public transport. Here are just a few of them:

  • some autistic people may manage their experience of a journey through repetitive physical behaviours, for example, tapping their fingers or flapping their hands. This is perfectly normal; try not to stare or make them feel self-conscious
  • be aware of personal space. An autistic person may have sensitivity to touch and even the experience of someone lightly brushing past them can be overwhelming for them
  • if you ask an autistic person a question and they don’t respond or find it difficult to make eye contact, show kindness and remove the pressure for them to respond immediately
  • if an autistic person is having a meltdown, ask them if they are alright and if there is anything you could do to help, or just give them space and time to deal with the situation
  • be aware of sensory needs. It may not be a question of rudeness if someone needs to move seats or open a window; it may be that a particular smell, visual stimulus, or noise is overstimulating them.

 To find out what else you can do, please read our top tips.

Find out how you can help

There are plenty of ways you can help reduce the overload for autistic people. Small changes can make a big difference. Make a pledge now to see how you can help.

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