Well done Team Autism: 62 million steps and over 26,000 miles
Published on 12 April 2021
Huge well done to the 500 plus people we support or who work for our charity on walking an amazing 26,000 miles to mark World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW). The team have been taking part in our adult services’ Spring Forward Challenge, by joining forces to walk as many miles as possible by the end of WAAW on 4 April 2021). They managed an incredible 62 million steps and walked more than 26,000 miles – more than Earth’s total circumference!
We launched the challenge to create more opportunities for the autistic people we support to be active. Everyone taking part has been recording their steps in the World Walking app which shows how far we’ve travelled together around the world collectively. The final destination on their collective journey around the world was the Sydney Opera House – their 25th milestone en route.
We created the challenge in response to feedback from the families of people we support who wanted more opportunities for their loved ones to exercise and spend time in nature – particularly during lockdown. This is proven to benefit mood, mental health and wellbeing, and brings people together.
As a result of the challenge, 78% of people we support who took part told us they were more active and 79% told us they felt better in general.
The autistic people taking part, including Emma from our New Mills Court service in Swansea, say that the challenge helped their mental and physical health, and that they enjoyed the teamwork element of walking together and seeing how far around the planet they can go. They embraced in the Spring ForwardChallenge spirit by making posters of the countries they visited (virtually, via the app).
At the National Autistic Society, we support autistic adults in a range of ways, including 24-hour care in our own homes and extra help for people in their own or our homes. The challenge culminates on the final day of this year’s World Autism Awareness Week (29 March to 4 April).
New Mills Court is a place where autistic people can learn new skills, develop their interests and try new experiences. People who come to the centre can choose from a range of opportunities, all of which are designed to help them develop life skills, make decisions and gain confidence to become more independent.
Lynnette Jefford, a Support Worker at our New Mills Court service said: “It is great to see the people we support enjoying the journey. It’s not just a walk, it's an experience to see the world.”
Natasha Williams, who is also a Support Worker at our New Mills Court service, said: “It has been great to see the people we support and staff enjoying taking part in this challenge.”
Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said: “What an achievement. Well done to everyone involved!
“The past 12 months been really hard for many autistic people, particularly adjusting to new restrictions, the changes to routines and not being able to see loved ones. I’ve been so impressed with the creative ways our adult services teams are helping people through this, like setting up a replica ice cream parlour, cinema and pub last year.
“And now, they’re inspiring us all to keep active, with all the physical and mental health benefits this brings. What a brilliant way to mark World Autism Awareness Week!”
Caroline Stevens, our Chief Executive, completing her final 15,000 steps as part of our Spring Forward Challenge
Cookies on this site