Last year the National Autistic Society ran a survey across more than 7,000 autistic people and their families to ask them how public attitudes towards autism and autistic people have changed over the past 4 years.

While the situation seems to be improving, there are still more than 60% autistic people that think that people they come across don’t understand how autism can affect someone’s behaviour.

So we have asked autistic people what are the key things that they would like the public to know. Below are the top 5: 

Autistic people may:

  1. Feel anxiety about changes or unexpected events
  2. Be under or over sensitive to sound, smells, light, taste and touch. This is called sensory sensitivity.
  3. Need time to process information, like questions or instructions
  4. Face high levels of anxiety in social situations
  5. Have difficulties communicating and interacting with others

Any of these or a combination could lead to a meltdown or shutdown.

We know that the public want to help, but they aren’t always sure what they can do.

So with the help of thousands of autistic people and their families, we have created some handy tips for the public to follow – please see top 5 tips below 

Download all our tips here

  1. Give people as much notice as possible about changes to plans or unexpected events.
  2. Provide a quiet space to retreat to when needed
  3. Take the time to explain things clearly and give people time to process and respond
  4. When arranging social events give plenty of notice and as much information of what to expect as possible
  5. Do not rely on body language or facial expressions as some autistic people can struggle with this.