Highlighting World Autism Acceptance Week

Angus South MSP Graeme Dey recently visited the Dundee and Angus Branch of the National Autistic Society Scotland at its new premisesin Arbroath to highlight World Autism Acceptance Week.
Graeme Dey (right) is pictured with staff during his visit.Graeme Dey (right) is pictured with staff during his visit.
Graeme Dey (right) is pictured with staff during his visit.

The branch is part of a network of 16 volunteer-led branches across Scotland that provide support for autistic people and families. From its new premises on Lindsay Street, it will run an autistic girls’ group and a Lego group for children, as well as a parents and carers’ group and a group for autistic adults.

Autism is lifelong and affects how people communicate and interact with the world. While some people can self-manage the difficulties they experience, others will require support to live their life to the fullest. The aim of Autism Acceptance Week is to help more people understand what autism is, as well as the ways it can affect life for autistic people. In previous years, the week has been known as World Autism Awareness Week and World Autism Awareness Day. In 2021 a change was made to World Autism Acceptance Week to align with the goal of communities being inclusive of autistic people.

The National Autistic Society Scotland provides a range of services and support for Scotland’s 56,000 autistic people and their families and campaigns at national and local level to help create a society that works for autistic people. As well as providing direct services which transform lives, the National Autistic Society Scotland is currently campaigning for a commissioner to protect and promote the rights of autistic people and people with learning disabilities, which would be the first role of its kind in the world. If introduced, a commissioner will be a powerful champion for change for autistic people and their families in Scotland.

Mr Dey spoke with branch chairperson Charleen Morton and some of the members about the importance of Autism Acceptance Week.

He said: “I was delighted to visit Charleen and the Angus team for the opening of their new Arbroath premises. Direct local support is instrumental to autistic people living in Angus and I am pleased to see a new support hub available in the town.

“Being able to talk with some of the members currently supported by the society highlighted just how essential these local organisations are. I am grateful to have Charlene and the branch in my constituency to champion the needs of autistic people.”

Ms Morton added: “We are really excited to open our brand-new premises on Lindsay Street in Arbroath, where we can offer autistic children, young people, and adults a place to come and meet their peers and feel supported.

“It was special to be able to hold this opening on World Autism Acceptance Week, and welcome so many families to the premises. There were lots of activities for the children and young people, and it was great to see parents and adults getting to know one another and making connections that will hopefully support them in the future.

“I’d like to thank all our volunteers who keep the Branch going and would welcome anyone interested in volunteering with us – whether your autistic yourself or a parent or carer – to get message us through Facebook.”

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