Aberdeen set to become Scotland’s first ‘autism-friendly’ city

Aberdeen is set to become Scotland’s first autism-friendly city, thanks to an exciting new project that will increase public understanding of the condition and encourage local amenities to become more accessible.

We’re working with Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership to deliver Autism Friendly Aberdeen, a new project which also includes the development of support and social groups for autistic people.

The project launches as the Scottish Government’s pilot One Stop Shop in the city comes to an end – meaning that autistic residents and their families will continue to have access to high-quality support, information and advice.

Aberdeen’s Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board Chair, Councillor Len Ironside CBE said, “We are delighted to be working with The National Autistic Society Scotland in shaping support for individuals and families with autism. The National Autistic Society has developed a very exciting and sustainable model for the city, which will ensure that easily accessible services for people with the condition are maintained and improved in Aberdeen. We are very much look forward to working with them to test and develop Autism Friendly Aberdeen.”

The project will increase public understanding of the condition, help facilities and services in the area become more accessible, and develop new groups to meet the needs of autistic residents.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership was the first to take on the challenge of becoming autism-friendly when it launched its own project earlier this year. No other parts of Scotland are currently involved in the unique initiative.

Jenny Paterson, Director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said, “I am thrilled that Aberdeen has taken on the challenge of becoming Scotland’s first autism friendly city. Its Health and Social Care Partnership has shown a real commitment to its autistic residents in launching this new project and ensuring they continue to receive high-quality support and information.

“This comes after Aberdeenshire announced its intention to become autism-friendly earlier this year. It’s fair to say that the North East is really leading the way for Scotland to become an autism-friendly nation!”

Our Too Much Information campaign research revealed that almost half (44 per cent) of autistic people and their families sometimes don’t go out because they’re worried about how people will react – with 90 per cent saying people stare at behaviour associated with their child’s autism and 85 per cent saying they are judged as being strange.

It is hoped that by increasing public understanding of the condition, Autism Friendly Aberdeen will help to reduce the social isolation of autistic people in the city – ensuring that Aberdeen and its residents really are autism-friendly.

For more information visit The National Autisitc Society

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