Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 53

members of the public who just don’t understand what they’re witnessing. One company, Auty Not Naughty, makes t-shirts and hoodies to avoid confusion! We’ve done our bit at AuKids, too, creating a range of our own clothing designed to give inspiring and positive messages about autism. You can order them in the States or anywhere. (Click here to go to the store.) Despite the economic gloom and some members of the public who would be better off keeping it zipped, there’s some real hope on the horizon for families living with autism. One step in the right direction is the creation of autism-friendly environments, which has happened over a relatively short period of time. It started with the Odeon cinema in Manchester, which became a trailblazer for autismfriendly cinema screenings. After the success in Manchester, Odeon cinemas rolled out autism-friendly cinema screenings once a month throughout the UK. Eager not to be left behind, Cineworld followed suit and soon after was joined by Showcase and Vue cinemas. This set a precedent: autismfriendly initiatives were no longer a one-off affair; they were company-wide. Theatres started getting in on the act (pun intended!), promoting “relaxed” performances. There’s even a circus company (Circus Starr) that has released its own app to prepare kids for its inclusive shows. Department stores are beginning to catch on, and this month, AuKids will be rolling out some autism training to a John Lewis store in Manchester for its shoe-fitting department. The store is eager to shine in this respect as it has done in many other aspects of customer care in this country. Much more needs to be done, but the signs are good. There is still much work to be done before the positive effects of the Adult Autism Strategy start to filter through. There’s also a mammoth job to be done in educating teachers in mainstream schools about autism. Sadly it seems that many primary schools are failing in this respect, and the problem of bullying prevails in our high schools. In general, whilst everything’s not rosy in the garden of autism, there are many emerging shoots that we should nurture in our efforts to create a more inclusive society in the UK. Left to right, our friends from across the pond, AuKids magazine co-editor Tori Houghton, distributor Tim Tuff (who is on the spectrum) and co-editor Debby Elley. Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses 53