Following a consultation exercise in January 2018, the Department of Transport has announced that from 2019, hidden disabilities such as autism will be included in the Blue Badge scheme. This gives individuals and carers access to disabled parking spaces, which can make a big difference in leading an independent life.
The previous Blue Badge scheme prioritised physical disabilities, with eligibility of autism and other hidden conditions being open to interpretation by local authorities. The new scheme explicitly includes those who:
- cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
- cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
More information on the forthcoming changes is available on the Government website. The announcement has been reported by BBC News and other national news websites.
Many people on the autism spectrum find talking on the phone difficult and prefer to communicate via email, text or social media. But what if you needed to call 999 in an emergency?
emergencySMS is a free service that allows you to use SMS (text messaging) to contact any of the UK 999 services (police, ambulance, fire & rescue or coastguard). It’s available for anyone who finds making a voice call difficult, including members of the autistic community. To use the service, you need to pre-register your phone on the website – we recommend you do it now so it’s ready to use when you need it.
For more information on how the service works and to register your phone, visit www.emergencysms.org.uk
We’re always on the lookout for interesting and fun ways of explaining autism, and we wanted to share a good one we’ve found. Bristol-based artist Rebecca Burgess has produced a great cartoon strip explaining autism and the non-linear nature of the autism spectrum – she has kindly made it available to us as a download (click on the image):
For more information on Rebecca’s work, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.