The National Autistic Society
For this edition of Behind the Blue Walls we interviewed a brilliant charity who store with us in Wales called The National Autistic Society. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for autistic people. Speaking to Sam, the charity’s external affairs assistant, we discovered more about the work they do and how they provide support to children and families living with autism.
Where did it all begin?
The National Autistic Society started in 1962 as a small group of friends who were frustrated at the lack of understanding and help available for parents and their children. Getting a diagnosis was only the first of many hurdles parents faced, and those with children deemed 'uneducable' were confronted with the horror of the institution.
Today, society's understanding of and attitudes towards autism are, thankfully, radically different. Ninety nine per cent of the public now recognise the term 'autism' and The National Autistic Society and all its supporters have played a considerable role in this shift over the decades.
But many of the difficulties that autistic people and their families experienced back in 1962 are still familiar today. People still struggle to get the support, understanding and appreciation they deserve. More than one in 100 people are autistic – that's around 700,000 people in the UK today - and The National Autistic Society alone can only directly support a small proportion of these people, their families and friends.
That's why their aim is to spread the understanding of autism and autism practice that has been developed over 50 years.
What services are available through/offered by your charity?
The National Autistic Society Cymru (NAS Cymru) is committed to providing the best services for people on the autism spectrum and to sharing their knowledge and experience with the entire autism community.
Across the country, NAS Cymru provide support, information and care at every stage of life. Whether someone is affected by autism as a child, an adult or as a family, their services are here to help. They provide specialist, tailor-made support services for autistic adults and children across Wales.
Always promoting independence and achieving new goals, NAS Cymru staff get to know each person they support well so their needs are met and they reach their full potential. From social groups and supported living services to information for parents and 24-hour residential care, NAS Cymru are here to improve the lives of everybody affected by autism. They also have volunteer branches who take part in fundraising and campaigning activities, and run family support and information services to help people living with autism in the local area.
How can people find out more about the charity?
Their website is a world-leading online autism resource where you can find information and advice about autism, NAS Cymru and services in Wales, as well as details of how you can get involved too. www.autism.org.uk/wales
The Autism Helpline enquiry service provides impartial, confidential information along with advice and support for autistic people and their families and carers. 0808 800 4104,
Monday-Thursday 10am - 4pm, Friday 9am - 3pm.
If you have a question about - or for - the charity, simply leave us a comment below!