Autism Stress Alert – emergency card
Alice Parker, founder of Autism Stress Alert, has just shown Chamber member ‘People Matter’ how to help autistic clients avoid sensory overload while on their premises.
Alice developed the ‘Autism Stress Card’ when she tried to carry out the weekly shop with her son who is on the Autistic Spectrum. After a member of staff in a local store tried to pull him away from a display her son experienced a dramatic episode which resulted in her abandoning the weekly shop and trying to calm him down enough to be able to get out of the store.
Finding normal visits into town were incredibly stressful Alice researched other families with autistic members and discovered that over 90% of those surveyed had stopped taking their autistic family member on the sort of town centre visits the rest of us find perfectly easy. For example anywhere with music, bright lights, crowds, queues or strong smells; so this includes banks, shopping centres, supermarkets, doctors surgeries and town centres.
In order to manage the environments that autistic people need to visit, Alice has developed a two pronged approach.
- Firstly she created a credit card sized warning device to show to staff so that they understand that a customer is autistic. On the reverse the card tells staff when the autistic person is about to suffer a stressful episode.
- Secondly she has trained the staff at most of the stores in the Arndale Centre, the front line staff at Eastbourne Borough Council, town centre security guards, local banks and most of the supermarkets in town. These staff now understand why an autistic person can be badly affected by their environment. She has also developed a sticker to show that a store is autism friendly.
Alice has just completed training for the team at People Matter so they can guide autistic people who are unemployed to prepare for interviews and develop employability skills in an autism friendly environment.
For more information or to arrange training for your team, follow this link. There are over 10,000 autistic people in Sussex with over 30,000 family members so make sure you can welcome this important demographic into your business.