Autism Awareness Month 2015
April is Autism Awareness Month and we have been really busy over the last few weeks. This is an important time of year for us as autism has much greater coverage in the media and it provides us with opportunities to really capture the public’s attention, raise awareness of autism and get involved in some exciting projects and events. From online campaigns, to TV appearances and events around the country, here is a roundup of what we got up to this year…
Our ‘A is for Autism’ campaign had a fantastic response on social media and so many of you got involved, creating and sharing your A’s for autism. Our Awareness Day Facebook post on World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April) was shared by over 1700 people and was seen by over 200,000 people, which is incredible! Thank you to everyone who helped us to achieve this.
In addition to our online campaign, we also launched our ‘Get Set 4 Autism’ project across Argyll & Bute on World Autism Awareness Day. In partnership with Autism Argyll and with funding secured from the Big Lottery Fund, the project will provide post-diagnostic support to families with children between the ages of 5 and 18 who have autism. The project aims to reduce the feelings of isolation which can be experienced by families living with autism in rural areas, promote a greater understanding of autism and improve communication between parents and professionals.
Our One Stop Shops have also been busy this month, with staff from Fife out and about greeting shoppers in the Kingsgate Shopping Centre in Dunfermline, telling everyone about the services they offer, while in our Head Office the finance team had an ‘A’ themed cake sale. Our Lanarkshire One Stop Shop held a onesie and pyjama dress up day on the 3rd April, and they also had a bake sale.
Individuals from Art Opportunities, our vocational service in Alloa benefited from a project organised by Autism Forth Valley. Thanks to two resident artists, they had the chance to create a stop-motion animation video which was showcased as part of the ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ art project. The project ran throughout April with exhibitions in Stirling and Clackmannanshire and finished with the launch of the Forth Valley autism strategy.
Another way in which we have been spreading the word this month is on the big screen. In the lead up to World Autism Awareness Day our brand new short film, ‘What is Autism?’ was screened in cinemas across Scotland, and also in independent cinemas throughout April. With support from talented individuals with autism at Project Ability we transformed our animated resource www.understandautism.org into the new mini film ‘What is Autism’ to raise awareness of autism among the general public. If you missed it you can watch it below.
Glasgow Film Theatre kindly screened two films to raise awareness of autism – The Black Balloon and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which lots of you came along to. The Macrobert in Stirling also held a special screening of X+Y where our Director of Development, Charlene Tait, took part in a panel discussion afterwards. Charlene was particularly busy that day as she was also invited onto STV Glasgow News to talk about autism, along with Angie Davis from the Vale of Leven Autism Forum – if you missed it you can watch the clip below!
For the whole month of April you may have seen our logo on a grand scale as we had a huge display on the M8 motorway pyramids and even had the sheep painted purple to help raise awareness.